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Kyoto animation studio arson incident believed to have killed 23 people – National


A Japanese fire official says at least 23 people are now confirmed or presumed dead in a suspected arson at a popular animation production studio in Kyoto.

Kyoto fire department official Satoshi Fujiwara says 36 others have been injured, some of them critically.

Smoke billows from a fire at the Kyoto Animation studio in Kyoto, Japan July 18, 2019, in this still image obtained from a social media video.

INSTAGRAM / @XRAY_RAIX via REUTERS.

He says firefighters found more than 10 people presumed dead on the top floor of a three-story building, some of them collapsed on the stairs leading to the roof.

Earlier, authorities have confirmed seven dead and six others presumed dead.

The fire broke out in the three-story Kyoto Animation building in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, after the suspect spread an unidentified liquid to accelerate the blaze, Kyoto prefectural police and fire department officials said.

An aerial view shows firefighters battling the fires at the site where a man started a fire after spraying a liquid, at a three-story studio of Kyoto Animation Co. in Kyoto, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 18, 2019.

Kyodo/via REUTERS

The suspect was also injured and taken to a hospital, officials said. Police are investigating the man on suspicion of arson.

Footage on Japan’s NHK national television showed gray smoke billowing from the charred building. In other footage on TBS network showed windows blown off.

Witnesses in the neighbourhood said they heard bangs coming from the building, others said they saw people coming out of the building blackened, bleeding, walking barefoot, Kyodo News reported.

Rescue officials set up an orange tent outside the studio building to provide first aid and sort out the injured.

Fire department officials say more than 70 people were in the building at the time of the fire. Many of them ran outside, but about 30 people still could not be reached.

Firefighters were searching for victims after the fire was extinguished hours later.

Kyoto Animation, better known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 as an animation and comic book production studio, and is known for mega-hit stories featuring high school girls, including Lucky Star, K-On! and Haruhi Suzumiya.



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