Fire partially destroys a Haebaru office building

A bolt of lightning is being thought to be the cause of a fire that struck a prefab office building in Haebru Town’s Oona district about 8:20 a.m. Sunday as Typhoon Sanba was moving across Okinawa.

Firefighters required about 40 minutes to put out the fire.  A 12-square-meter area of the building was burned, but there were no injuries.  Yonabaru Police say a 61-year-old man who operates the office was on standby in his car near the office, checking for possible typhoon damage to he office, when he saw a flash of light and heard a crashing sound he assumed was caused by a thunderbolt.  About ten minutes later he noticed smoke rising from the second floor of the office and called 119.

A Yonabaru Police investigation indicates it is likely the fire began near a switchboard located in the inner part of the locked office.  Okinawa Prefectural Police and the Yonabaru Fire Department are both investigating the fire’s cause, including the possibility of it having been caused by a thunderbolt strike.