A suspected arson attack on an animation studio in Japanese city of Kyoto has left many people dead with others seriously injured.
It was gathered that the fire broke out at the three-storey building, which is located in a residential area several kilometers south of Kyoto station, on Thursday.
Footage from the scene — shared on social media platforms — showed thick smoke billowing out as firefighters can be seen trying to quench the flames.
“Rescue operations are continuing, and 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 reporters.
kyoto animation studio was on fire 🥺 pic.twitter.com/Juj2sXa9O3
— ً (@hadixd) July 18, 2019
— NHKニュース (@nhk_news) July 18, 2019
BBC reported the death toll as 23 while NHK, a local broadcaster, gathered that a number of people still remain unaccounted for.
It is believed that about 70 people were inside the building where Kyoto Animation’s studio is located.
— Julianne Lima (@JulianneLimaTV) July 18, 2019
The incident is suspected to be arson after the perpetrator, believed to be in his 40s, was said to have shouted “die” as he doused the building with petrol.
In his reaction on Twitter, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the incident was “too appalling for” words. He also offered condolences to the victims.
— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) July 18, 2019
Police have also arrested the suspect but have not said how many people have died in the attack, or established a motive.
Kyoto Animation, better known as KyoAni, is among the most prominent studios based in southern Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1981, the studio produces animations and publishes anime novels, comics and books.