At least 33 people died and dozens were injured after a suspected arsonist barged into an animation production studio in Japan’s city of Kyoto and started a fire in the early hours of Thursday, BBC reported.
The fire erupted in the three-storey building of Kyoto Animation after the suspect spread an unidentified liquid to fuel the fire, Kyoto prefectural police and the fire department said. Kyoto Animation, popularly known as KyoAni, produced films and graphic novels.
The injured along with the suspect, a 41-year-old man, have been rushed to the hospital, Kyodo News quoted the police as saying. The police said that eyewitnesses saw a man screaming “die” as he started the fire, adding that knives were found at the crime scene.
Around 70 people were believed to have been working in the building when the fire broke out. The bodies of 11 people were found on the second floor of the structure, and four on the stairs, according to Japan Times.
Footage from the scene showed thick smoke emanating out of the building as firefighters worked on extinguishing the flames, CNN reported.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the incident was “too appalling for words” and offered condolences.
A Kyoto city fire department spokesperson said that the department had sent 35 fire engines and other firefighting vehicles to the site, The Guardian reported. Kyoto Animation is known for anime productions like Sound! Euphonium, A Silent Voice and Violet Evergarden.