33 Confirmed Deaths, Worst Case since Heisei EraKyoto Animation Fire
Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on July 18, near the 1st Studio of filmmaker Kyoto Animation Co., Ltd., located in Inaba, Momoyama-cho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, a local resident made an emergency call, reporting, "I heard an explosion from the first floor of the building. Smoke is coming out." The city's fire department reports that the entire three-storied building was burnt down, and confirms that a total of 33 employees, namely, 12 men, 20 women, and one whose gender is unidentified, were killed, and that 36 people were severely or slightly injured. The casualty figure of the fire has exceeded 60, which is the worst catastrophe since the Heisei Era, or the reign of the previous emperor. The First Investigation Division of the Kyoto Prefectural Police and the Fushimi Police Station are investigating this case on suspicion of homicide and arson of an inhabited structure.
According to the Kyoto Prefectural Police, 73 people, including employees and suppliers, were inside when the fire broke out. An eyewitness said that a 41-year-old man entered the first floor, sprinkled gasoline-like liquid near the reception desk, and ignited it, shouting, "Die." The man was carrying plastic containers. Reportedly, some knives and hammers were found on the floor at the scene. The police captured him on a nearby street, but the suspect was also injured and is currently hospitalized. Suspecting he is the man who torched the building, the police plan to question him once he recovers.
According to the Prefectural Police, two people were found dead on the first floor, 11 on the second floor, one on the stairs between the second and third floors, and 19 on the stairs between the third floor and the rooftop.
As of 4:00 p.m., 65 fire-fighting vehicles were mobilized. The fire remained out of control even in the afternoon. Firefighters hurried to confirm that no one was trapped, while also conducting operations which included setting up a first-aid station.
Kyoto Animation was founded in 1981. It has produced such popular animated films as "Sound! Euphonium" and "K-On!"(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)