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Kyoto Animation fire: Thirteen dead after suspected arson attack

At least 13 people are dead and dozens injured after a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan, local emergency officials have said.

Local media quoted police as saying a man broke into the Kyoto Animation Co studio on Thursday morning and sprayed an unidentified liquid around.

Some 30 people still remain unaccounted for, broadcaster NHK reported.

The suspect, an unidentified man, has been detained and was taken to hospital with injuries.

How did the incident unfold?

The fire broke out at the three-storey building at around 10:30 local time (01:35 GMT) on Thursday. Rescue operations are still ongoing.

A Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told news agency AFP that a man “threw a liquid and set fire to it”. Police also found knives at the scene, say local media.

NHK said the man had been heard saying “drop dead” as he set fire to the building.

It is not clear what relationship the suspect may have had to the company.

An aerial view shows firefighters battling the fires at Kyoto Animation Co
Image captionThe fire broke out at the three-storey building mid-morning

Eyewitnesses described a loud explosion followed by an inferno that rapidly engulfed the building, reports the BBC’s Tokyo correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.

More victims could still be on the top floor, which was still filled with thick smoke, our correspondent says.

“We are trying to bring out several victims who are trapped inside the three-story building, including ones who may not be able to move by themselves,” a fire department spokesman told AFP.

Japanese officials said one death had been confirmed and 12 people had been found “in cardio-pulmonary arrest” – a formulation routinely used in Japan for victims who have died but whose deaths have not yet been officially confirmed.

Nearly 40 other people are in hospital, some in a serious condition, reports say.

What do we know about the studio?

Kyoto Animation, known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 and has produced popular animation shows including “K-On” and “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”.

On social media, many fans have been expressing their shock and posting pictures of their favourite KyoAni shows.

Twitter post by @juantwothreefoe: My thoughts and prayers to Kyoto Animation Studio and it’s workers who brought many of us pure joy, tears and unforgettable moments. May those artists get well soon.
Twitter post by @PleiadesRising: I have love for Kyoto Animation productions, even more so today. #京都アニメーション

A GoFundMe campaign titled “Help KyoAni Heal” has also been started, with more than $50,000 (£40,000) raised in an hour.

SourceBBC
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