KYOTO (TR) – At least 13 persons are feared dead after a suspected arson attack at a studio of Kyoto Animation Co. in Kyoto City on Thursday, authorities said, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (July 18).
At around 10:35 a.m., emergency services received a distress call about “an explosion on the first floor” of Studio 1 of Kyoto Animation in Fushimi Ward.
Thirty fire trucks from the Kyoto City Fire Department arrived at the scene to battle the blaze, which spread through the three-floor reinforced concrete structure.
The fire department said that one person has been confirmed dead. At least another 12 persons, found collapsed on the first and second floors, are in a state of cardiac arrest since they are showing no vital signs. Another 36 persons are injured, with 10 of them in serious condition.
A witness told police that they saw an adult male spraying around a liquid that seemed to be gasoline inside the building and setting it ablaze. “Die!” he reportedly screamed as he carried out the act.
Police apprehended a 41-year-old man at the scene. He is currently receiving medical attention. Multiple knives were found dropped at the scene, but it is not known if they belong to the man in custody, police said, according to the Asahi Shimbun (July 18).
At the time the fire broke out, there were more than 70 employees present inside the studio, which comprises about 700 square meters of space. The entirety of the structure has generally been destroyed.
Established in 1981, Kyoto Animation is known for producing a number of television series, including “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “K-On!”
Update: NHK cites the Kyoto City Fire Department in reporting that there are about 10 more people in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest on the third floor of the building and on the stairs that lead to the rooftop.