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Kyoto Animation fire: Twelve dead after suspected arson attack

Media captionKyoto Animation offices on fire

At least 12 people have died and dozens are injured in a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan, local emergency officials have said.

Local media quoted police as saying a man broke into the Kyoto Animation Co studio on Thursday morning and sprayed an unidentified liquid around.

Some 30 people still remain unaccounted for, reported broadcaster NHK.

The suspect, who has not been named, has been detained and was taken to hospital with injuries.

How did the incident unfold?

The fire broke out at the three-storey building at around 10:30 local time (01:35 GMT) on Thursday. Rescue operations are still ongoing.

A Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told news agency AFP that a man “threw a liquid and set fire to it”. Police also found knives at the scene, say local media.

NHK said the man had been heard saying “drop dead” as he set fire to the building.

It is not clear what relationship the suspect may have had to the company.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

The fire broke out at the three-storey building mid-morning

Eyewitnesses described a loud explosion followed by an inferno that rapidly engulfed the building, reports the BBC’s Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.

“We are trying to bring out several victims who are trapped inside the three-story building, including ones who may not be able to move by themselves,” a fire department spokesman told AFP.

“A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints,” a 59-year-old woman living nearby told news agency Kyodo.

What do we know about the studio?

Kyoto Animation, known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 and has produced popular animation shows including “K-On” and “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”.

On social media, many fans have been expressing their shock and posting pictures of their favourite KyoAni shows.

A GoFundMe campaign titled “Help KyoAni Heal” has also been started, with almost $30,000 (£24,000) raised in an hour.

Kyoto Animation fire: Twelve dead after suspected arson attack

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