Fire engulfs 140 buildings in Japan, but no deaths reported

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TOKYO (Reuters) - A fire engulfed about 140 houses, shops and other buildings in a Japanese coastal city on Thursday, injuring five people but causing no deaths, a fire official said.

The military was called in to help battle the blaze, which started mid-morning in a residential area of Itoigawa, a city of 44,500 people, 140 miles northwest of Tokyo.

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Fire engulfs 140 buildings in Japan
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Fire engulfs 140 buildings in Japan

Smoke rises from houses and buildings during a fire, near JR Itoigawa Station, in Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo December 22, 2016.

(Kyodo/via REUTERS)

A fire engulfs houses and stores, near JR Itoigawa Station, in Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo December 22, 2016.

(Kyodo/via REUTERS)

Smoke rises as firefighters control a blaze that engulfed multiple buildings at Itoigawa city, Niigata prefecture on December 22, 2016. A rapidly-spreading fire engulfed more than 100 buildings and sparked evacuations in a northern Japanese city on December 22, leaving two injured and forcing authorities to mobilize troops.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Smoke rises as firefighters control a blaze that engulfed multiple buildings at Itoigawa city, Niigata prefecture on December 22, 2016. A rapidly-spreading fire engulfed more than 100 buildings and sparked evacuations in a northern Japanese city on December 22, leaving two injured and forcing authorities to mobilize troops.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Firefighters control a blaze that engulfed multiple buildings at Itoigawa city, Niigata prefecture on December 22, 2016. A rapidly-spreading fire engulfed more than 100 buildings and sparked evacuations in a northern Japanese city on December 22, leaving two injured and forcing authorities to mobilize troops.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Local residents look at firefighters at the scene of a blaze that engulfed multiple buildings at Itoigawa city, Niigata prefecture on December 22, 2016. A rapidly-spreading fire engulfed more than 100 buildings and sparked evacuations in a northern Japanese city on December 22, leaving two injured and forcing authorities to mobilize troops.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Flames and smoke rise during a blaze that engulfed multiple houses and buildings at Itoigawa city, Niigata prefecture on December 22, 2016. A rapidly-spreading fire engulfed more than 100 buildings and sparked evacuations in a northern Japanese city on December 22, leaving two injured and forcing authorities to mobilize troops.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Firefighters control a blaze that engulfed multiple buildings at Itoigawa city, Niigata prefecture on December 22, 2016. A rapidly-spreading fire engulfed more than 100 buildings and sparked evacuations in a northern Japanese city on December 22, leaving two injured and forcing authorities to mobilize troops.

(JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

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"The fire has lost its strength. As of 8:50 p.m., we decided there was little chance of its spreading further," a local fire department official said, adding it would take hours more to put it out completely.

Five people suffered minor injuries and evacuation orders were issued for 363 houses nearby, he said.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Andrew Roche)

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