33 people have been confirmed dead following a suspected arson attack at the Kyoto Animation studios in the Japanese city of Kyoto.
Approximately 70 people are said to have been inside the building when the fire broke out at around 10.30am on Thursday, July 18.
A further 36 people were injured, ten of which are reported to be in a critical condition. One suspect, said to be in his forties, is said to be injured and in hospital.
As reported by the Associated Press, 33 deaths have so far been been confirmed by Kyoto fire department official Kazuhiro Hayashi.
Firefighters reportedly found the majority of the deceased on the top floor of the three-storey building.
This included some individuals who had collapsed on the stairs which led up to the roof. Firefighters found two of the deceased on the first floor, 11 on the second and 20 on the third floor.
It is believed the suspect might have started the fire at the front door of the building, meaning people were forced to try to find other means of escape.
it's sad to hear that my favorite studio who make the best anime being burned down. From nichijou to koe no katachi…I really enjoyed it…from the happy moment to sad moment…kyoani done everything to everyone.including me..get well soon everyone#PrayForKyoani pic.twitter.com/uCTOPZdMts
— Aiman Jasri (@aiman_jasri) July 18, 2019
According to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, the suspect was reportedly seen pouring a flammable liquid inside the building before it was engulfed in flames.
Witnesses have also said the suspect shouted the Japanese word for ‘die’ during the attack. It is not clear what the suspect’s connection is to the studio, if any, or what his motivations were.
President of Kyoto Animation, Hideaki Hatta, has stated the studio had previously received some threatening emails, telling NHK:
They were addressed to our office and sales department and told us to ‘die’.
— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) July 18, 2019
Tributes have poured in for those who lost their lives at the animation studio, with many showing their respect for the talent and artistry of those who worked there.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tweeted his condolences for the victims of the fire, writing:
I express my condolences to the people who were killed, and pray for the earliest possible recovery of those who were injured.
This tragedy marks Japan’s deadliest fire since 2001, when a fire in Tokyo’s Kabukicho entertainment district left 44 people dead.
Also known as KyoAni, the Kyoto Animation studios has been in operation since 1981, with animators earning worldwide acclaim for beloved anime shows such as K-On and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.