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33 killed, dozens injured in fire at Japanese anime studio; arson suspected

By Darryl Coote & Clyde Hughes
33 killed, dozens injured in fire at Japanese anime studio; arson suspected
Firefighters search for missing people at the Kyoto Animation Co building, in Kyoto, Japan on Thursday. Photo courtesy of EPA-EFE/JIJI JAPAN OUT

July 18 (UPI) -- Fire officials confirmed that 33 people are dead after a blaze Thursday destroyed an animation studio in Japan that police suspect was lit by an arsonist.

Flames burned through the three-story Kyoto Animation studio and the Kyoto City Fire Department deployed 30 trucks to the scene, Japan's Mainichi reported.

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About three dozen others were injured, officials said, and firefighters said several are in a state of "cardiopulmonary arrest."

Investigators are trying to locate several who remain unaccounted for. Most of the dead were found on the first two floors of the building. Fire officials said 36 others were injured in the blaze, broadcaster NHK reported.

Police said they have detained a 41-year-old man suspected of having started the fire by pouring a flammable liquid in the studio. That man was among the injured, officials said. More than 70 people were in the building when the fire began.

The studio, founded in 1981, is known for having produced numerous popular anime television series and movies, including K-On!; Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions; and Beyond the Boundary.

"It is so horrifying that I am at a loss for words," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. "I offer my thoughts to those who have been wounded and pray for their recovery, by even one day."

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