Expressway fire in Shibuya causes partial shutdown

A construction worker suffered minor burns and part of the Metropolitan Expressway was closed due to a fire at a construction site in the Dogenzaka district of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday, police said.

The fire started in scaffolding underneath Route 3 of the expressway around 2:10 p.m. and burned a total area of about 320 square meters, including metal scaffolding and a nearby storeroom, according to the police. The injured 31-year-old male worker suffered slight burns on his hand, they said.

The fire is believed to have been caused by a light bulb used during painting work coming in contact with a combustible liquid, according to the Shibuya Police Station of the Metropolitan Police Department and other sources.

Part of Route 3-inbound lanes between Ohashi Junction and Takagicho and outbound lanes between Tanimachi and Ohashi junctions-was closed due to the fire.

According to Metropolitan Expressway Co. personnel, the high heat of the fire may have weakened the endurance of bridge beams. Although beams in the outbound lane were more severely damaged, a portion of the inbound lane beams has also deformed, the company said.