Dozens of people were injured on Monday after a fire broke out in a hazardous materials warehouse at a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa prefecture in southern Japan.

The fire started in the morning in a building at Kadena Air Force Base and, according to a statement from the U.S. Army, the injured are said to have inhaled smoke and gas.

Pictures released by the Japanese media show large columns of smoke above the building. The area has been cordoned off and Armed Forces personnel working in the area have been evacuated while firefighters are trying to extinguish the flames.

According to The Japan Times, about 45 people were reportedly exposed to the gas. The cause of the fire is not known at this time, but a team of bio-environmental experts has been dispatched to the area to ensure that nearby populations are not at risk.


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