Suspected arson in Japan anime studio leaves up to 30 dead

US & World

TOKYO (AP) — An investigation is underway in Kyoto, Japan after a man burst into an animation production studio and set it on fire early Thursday.

Officials presume 30 people are dead.

The blaze injured another 36 people, some of them critically, Japanese authorities said.

Police arrested the man suspected of starting the fire. Witnesses heard him scream, “you die!” as he allegedly started the fire.

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.

Police have not released much information about the suspect, only saying he is a man in his 40s.

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 neighborhood 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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