Suspected arson at Kyoto anime studio leaves multiple people dead

Suspected arson at Kyoto anime studio leaves multiple people dead

TOKYO – A fire at an animation studio in the city of Kyoto, western Japan, left multiple people dead and more than 30 others injured, some of them seriously, local media quoted investigators as saying Thursday.

According to local reports, 10 people who were found lying unconscious inside the three-story studio of Kyoto Animation Co. were believed to have died in the blaze, police at the scene said.

The fire started at around 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday morning at the studio known for producing popular TV animation series and artifacts.

Neighbors told local media they heard what sounded like a loud explosion and saw smoke billowing from the building.

More than 30 fire engines were deployed to the scene to deal with the inferno.

As of 12:30 p.m. local time, firefighters were still battling to control the blaze.

Local police and first responders said a 41-year-old man, identified by his driver’s license, admitted on his way to hospital that he spread a flammable liquid, possibly gasoline, around the building before setting it on fire.

The suspect, also being treated in hospital for injuries sustained during the fire, was taken into custody, investigators said.

Kyoto Animation runs studios in Kyoto and nearby Uji, where the company is headquartered.

Founded in 1981, the company is well known for its animations released in the 2000s that were popular with younger generations.

The firm also produces related animation artifacts and runs training programs for animators. (Xinhua)