Forty-two persons were injured after an explosion on Sunday evening caused a number of buildings to collapse in Sapporo in northern Japan, Kyodo news agency reported. The wooden buildings that collapsed after the suspected gas explosion included a pub, a real estate office and a clinic, authorities said.

The blast took place at 8.30 pm (5 pm Indian time) on Sunday, and the fire was doused only around five and a half hours later. One employee at the office building was seriously injured. Police suspect the explosion took place at the pub or the real estate office.

Debris of wood got scattered several metres away, and many people who felt the explosion said they thought it was an earthquake, reported Kyodo. Eyewitnesses also reported smelling gas in the locality after the blast.

Sapporo is the capital of the Hokkaido island, the northernmost of Japan’s islands.