SAITAMA (TR) – Following a fire at a soapland bathhouse in Saitama City that killed four persons and left another eight injured, fire officials have found more than one dozen parlors in the nearby Nishi Kawaguchi red-light district to be in violation of fire codes, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Dec. 20).
Between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, 18 officials and firefighters from the Kawaguchi City Fire Department examined 18 fuzoku parlors in Nishi Kawaguchi for violations related to the placement of fire-fighting equipment and the suitability of emergency exits. Of the parlors that were inspected, 13 were found to have violations.
Management of the cited parlors have until December 20 to submit plans for the remediation of the violations.
The inspections followed a fire on Sunday inside bathhouse Kawaii Omiya, located inside a three-floor building about 300 meters from JR Omiya Station.
According to a previous report, the fire engulfed the second and third floors before it was extinguished by personnel from twenty fire trucks over a roughly five-hour period. The blaze started in a garbage collection area on the second floor. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Customers and employees
The twelve victims are customers and employees of Kawaii Omiya. Among those confirmed dead are a 29-year-old woman from Shiki City, Saitama Prefecture, a 25-year-old woman from Toshima Ward, Tokyo and a 42-year-old male office worker from Nishi Ward, Saitama City, police said on Tuesday. The burned body of man that was found on the third floor of the building remains unidentified.
The results of autopsies revealed that the man and one of the women died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The other woman died from burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.
One of the eight persons injured is in critical condition, while the other seven have minor injuries.
In June of last year, the Saitama City Fire Department conducted an onsite inspection of the 195-square-meter building housing Kawaii Omiya and advised that evacuation routes be improved. The soapland subsequently claimed that modifications were made. However, there was no external staircase for a door on the second floor, which is considered to be an emergency exit, according to fire officials.