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Fire wipes out local laundry

Date Posted: 2004-09-16

A multi-alarm fire swept through a Nishihara Town laundry a few days ago, wiping out the plant and all contents.

Twelve fire engines responded to the 2:45pm blaze at Marusan Laundry, but five hours later they were still battling the flames. One laundry staff member, Satoru Kinjo, 41, suffered head and facial injuries and a burned trachea caused by smoke inhalation. Two other staff suffered broken backs as they tried to flee the burning building. Forty others escaped without injuries.

“I was so scared. I heard something exploding,” said one employee. “It came from the washing machine side. I was ironing at the time and I just had to get out of there.”

Urasoe Police say the fire started with one of the large washing machines.

The fire blew transformers in the area, putting 500 homes without power.

Marusan Laundry is the largest in Okinawa. It operates 63 standard storefronts, and has another 160 drop off / pick up points located in supermarkets and other businesses across the island. All cleaning was done at the Nishihara factory plant.

“Oh no, my clothes!” moaned one customer, after hearing about the fire. Sorting out the damage claims is next for the laundry giant.

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