At least 13 people have lost their lives and dozens have been hospitalised, after a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan on Thursday morning, local emergency officials have said.
Emergency authorities have indicated that the death toll is likely to rise, while there are reports that the man had some sort of financial grievance against the company.
According to police, the man ran into the three-storey studios and offices of Kyoto Animation Co. shortly before 10.30am. Witnesses say he sprayed a liquid around the ground floor of the building and set fire to it and was shouting “Go die”. Police say that around 70 people were in the building when the fire broke out.
People living nearby told local media that they heard a series of explosions and saw thick black smoke billowing out of broken windows.
“A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints”, a local resident told Kyodo News.
A 16-year-old schoolgirl said: “Five or six people were lying on benches or blue sheets looking limp, and among them was a woman bleeding from her head. Neighbours were bringing blocks of ice and drinks for the people with burns.
“Victims of the fire were wrapped in what looked like aluminium foil before being taken to the ambulances, with their faces and hands stained with soot,” she said. “They were given oxygen from cylinders”.
“I heard a bang and the black smoke and the burning smell were awful”, said the manager of a nearby hairdresser.