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Hokkaido: Man lighting cigaratte starts blaze that kills 2, injures 2 more

HOKKAIDO (TR) – Hokkaido Prefectural Police have arrested a 41-year-old man for allegedly starting a blaze at his apartment in Sapporo City that left two persons dead and another two injured, reports NHK (July 15).

Early on Tuesday, Manabu Hashimoto, of no known occupation, allegedly started the fire while trying to light a cigarette inside his first-floor residence, located inside a four-floor building in Nishi Ward.

The subsequent blaze burned 15 square meters inside his residence. Stairs and corridors were also damaged, police said.

Takuya Funazaki, 56, who lives on the third floor, and a male resident on the second floor, aged in his 70s, died due to smoke inhalation.

Two other residents of the building suffered burns. Their injuries are considered serious, police said.

Upon his arrest on suspicion of gross negligence resulting in fire and and death, Hashimoto admitted to the allegations. He was sent to prosecutors on Wednesday.

Manabu Hashimoto (Twitter)

“A bit of a mishap”

At the time of the incident, he was in bed. On the floor nearby was some garbage.

“I was trying to smoke but my lighter was out,” Hashimoto said. “So I used a match, but there was a bit of a mishap and my hands got singed so I tossed [the match].”

According to NHK (July 15), the lit match hit the floor and ignited the garbage. “I wanted to put it out, but I couldn’t,” Hashimoto said.