Published: Thu, July 18, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

13 dead in 'arson' attack at Japanese animation studio in Kyoto

13 dead in 'arson' attack at Japanese animation studio in Kyoto

Footage on Japan's NHK television showed gray smoke billowing from the charred building.

"A man threw a liquid and set fire to it", a Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told AFP.

Kyoto Animation's president Hideaki Hatta stated on Thursday that the company had "often received notices such as death threats, starting a few years ago".

Japan's national news agency NHK reported on Thursday at 5:42 p.m. that, according to police, 16 people are confirmed to have died in the fire that engulfed Kyoto Animation's 1st Studio building earlier on Thursday.

"There are many injuries at the scene", a spokesman for the Kyoto city fire department told AFP.

The blaze injured another 36 people, some of them critically, Japanese authorities said. The suspect was also injured in the incident, and was taken to hospital.

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10 of those people were found unconscious and presumed dead on the second floor, according to The Japan Times.

It reported that the suspect had poured a gasoline-like substance around the building and said "drop dead" as he set fire to it. People were later seen being carried out of the site covered in blankets.

A 59-year-old woman told local media: "A person with singed hair was laying down and there were bloody footprints".

"I heard a bang and the black smoke and the burning smell were very bad", another told the agency Kyodo.

Kyoto Animation is perhaps best known for anime like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, K-Oh and more recently, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid and Free! The studio's series adaptation of the "Tsurune" novel, written by Kotoko Ayano, recently completed airing on public broadcaster NHK. One said on Twitter: "My thoughts and prayers to Kyoto Animation Studio and its workers who brought many of us pure joy, tears and unforgettable moments".

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