Fires

At least 140 buildings on fire in wind-swept blaze in Japanese city

Smoke billow from houses during a fire in Itoigawa, northern Japan, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016.

Smoke billow from houses during a fire in Itoigawa, northern Japan, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016.  (AP)

A restaurant fire whipped by high winds spread to at least 140 buildings Thursday in a small Japanese city on the Japan Sea coast.

The blaze started in the morning at a ramen shop in Itoigawa city, Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. Fanned by winds gusting to 56 kilometers (35 miles) per hour, it had reached about 140 houses and other buildings by mid-afternoon.

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There were two reports of minor injuries, one woman who inhaled smoke and another who fell, the fire and disaster agency said. Authorities issued an evacuation advisory for about 300 households.

Itoigawa is in Niigata prefecture, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) northwest of Tokyo. The cause of the fire is under investigation.