Fire engulfs 140 buildings in Japan

AAP on December 22, 2016, 10:25 pm

A restaurant fire fanned by high winds spread to at least 140 buildings in central Japan.

A wind-fanned fire engulfed 140 buildings in central Japan with hundreds of residents advised to evacuate their homes, local media reported.

The Niigata prefectural government called on the military to dispatch troops to help contain the fire in Itoigawa City on the Sea of Japan coast, 250km northwest of Tokyo.

Two people were injured after the fire broke out in a restaurant and spread quickly, broadcaster NHK reported.

The city issued an evacuation advisory to 740 people as firefighters were battling the raging blaze.

"I'm astonished to see the fire spread so quickly. I first thought one or two houses would be burned in the fire," a witness told NHK.