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33 dead after arson attack at Kyoto Animation studio, dozens injured

The Kyoto Animation building is seen on fire in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward on July 18, 2019. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)
The website of Kyoto Animation.

KYOTO -- An arson attack at a Kyoto Animation studio on the morning of July 18 has left 33 people dead, police and firefighters said, making it the worst such attack in Japan in decades.

A man allegedly entered the No. 1 studio of the Kyoto Animation building in Fushimi Ward in the western Japan city of Kyoto at around 10:30 a.m., poured what appeared to be gasoline around while screaming, "Go die," and set fire to it. The man was injured and admitted to a hospital.

A plastic container and a knife were found left at the scene. The 41-year-old suspect told prefectural police that he set fire to the three-story building.

At least 36 people were injured, 10 of them seriously. Police said the man who started the fire tried to leave the scene, but a worker followed him. Police officers who arrived at the site found him sitting down several dozen meters away from the building and apprehended him after questioning him. He was believed to have second-degree burns.

About 30 fire engines were mobilized to extinguish the fire. About 70 people including employees were in the No. 1 studio at the time of the incident.

The No. 1 studio, with a total floor space of about 700 square meters, was burned down in the blaze.

Firefighters quoted a local resident as reporting that there had been an explosion on the first floor of the building. Another person who called police said there was smoke rising from the building, and a person could be heard crying for help.

According to the National Police Agency, the arson attack is the worst in Japan in terms of the number of victims since the beginning of the previous Heisei era in 1989.

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Odanaka and Satoshi Fukutomi, Kyoto Bureau)

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