More than 20 people are presumed dead after arsonist screaming ‘You die!’ bursts into Japanese animation studio and sets it on fire
- At least 24 people died in a suspected arson attack at animation studio in Kyoto
- Authorities say that at least 36 more people have been injured, with some critical
- A man screaming ‘You die’ started a fire at a famous animation production studio
- The fire started at 10.30 local time on Thursday and was burning two hours later
- The suspect, who was injured, has been arrested but a motive is as yet unclear
At least 24 people are feared dead after a man screaming ‘You die!’ burst into an animation studio in Japan and set it on fire.
The suspected arson attack in Kyoto injured at least another 36 people, Japanese authorities said.
An official said one person had been found on the second floor of the three-storey Kyoto Animation building ‘in cardio-respiratory arrest,’ a term used in Japan to signify a victim’s death before it is officially certified.
They added that ’10 or more people’ were found in the same condition on the stairs from the second floor to the roof.
The fire broke out in the building in Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto, after the suspect, a man in his 40s, sprayed an unidentified liquid to accelerate the flames.
Several people died and dozens have been injured in a fire which was started deliberately at an animation studio in western Japan. Smoke is seen billowing from the three-story building of Kyoto Animation
At least 24 people are feared dead in the arson attack on the animation company in the Japanese city of Kyoto
Firefighters and rescue personnel outside an animation company building after it caught fire, with the suspect using a liquid to accelerate the flames
One person died of severe burns, and most of the 10 seriously injured suffered severe burns.
Rescuers found 12 people presumed dead on the first and second floors and as many as 18 others could be still trapped on the third floor.
The suspect was also injured and taken to hospital and police are investigating him on suspicion of arson.
Survivors who saw the attacker said he was not a colleague and that he was screaming ‘You die!’ when he dumped the liquid and started the fire, according to Japanese media reports.
Footage on Japan’s NHK national television showed grey smoke billowing from the charred building. Other footage showed windows blown off.
‘There was an explosion, then I heard people shouting, some asking for help,’ a woman told TBS TV. ‘Black smoke was rising from windows on upper floors, then there was a man struggling to crawl out of the window.’
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 Company in Kyoto
Witnesses in the neighbourhood said they heard bangs coming from the building, and others said they saw people coming out blackened, bleeding and 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 said more than 70 people were in the building at the time of the fire and many of them ran outside.
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.
The suspect, who is also understood to be injured and his in his forties, was arrested by police and has reportedly admitted to the crime, according to local reports. His motive has yet to be established.
The fire department said it began receiving calls around 10.35 am local time about the fire at the studio. The blaze was still burning two hours later.
‘Callers reported having heard a loud explosion from the first floor of Kyoto Animation and seeing smoke,’ a fire department spokesman said.
Rescue officials cordoned off the area as the fire department tackled the blaze on Thursday
Fire fighters inspect an animation company which caught fire in Kyoto on Thursday
He said the fire department had dispatched 35 fire engines and other fire-fighting vehicles to the site.
Police said they were treating the fire as a suspected arson.
‘A man threw a liquid and set fire to it,’ a Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told AFP. NHK said the suspect had been taken to hospital after suffering injuries in the fire.
Kyoto Animation has around 160 employees. The company is understood to have offices in Tokyo and Kyoto, as well as a subsidiary Animation Do in Osaka.
Rescue officials set up a tent outside the building to provide first aid and help the injured. Kyoto Animation Studios are based in Uji, a suburb of Kyoto, (as seen on a map above)
Its productions are extremely popular among fans of anime, which is a style of Japanese animation with colorful graphics and fantasy themes. Pictured is a graphic from ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’
Its productions are extremely popular among fans of anime, which is a style of Japanese animation with colorful graphics and fantasy themes.
The company has made numerous features and TV Series, including ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’ and ‘K-ON!.’
It is also responsible for producing Violet Evergarden: The Movie and a series of anime movies called Sound! Euphonium.
‘We are in the process of learning what happened,’ said a woman who answered the phone at the firm’s headquarters in Uji City in the Kyoto region.
‘We cannot tell you anything more,’ she added. News of the arson attack went viral on social media, with many people saying their thoughts were with the victims.
Kyoto Animation was established by Yoko Hatta and her husband, Hideaki Hatta, in 1981. The majority of the studio’s work takes place in the building that was set alight.
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