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‘Hell’ of Japan fire that killed dozens at anime company
Published on: Saturday, July 20, 2019
By: AFP

Kyoto: Details emerged Friday of the horrifying blaze that ripped through a Japanese anime firm, killing dozens including people who tried in vain to reach the roof, but the motive for the suspected arson remained unclear.

Eyewitnesses described a fire that was like “looking at hell,” after a man apparently doused the production company office in the city of Kyoto with flammable liquid and set it alight.

Experts and firefighters said the blaze would have raged uncontrollably throughout the structure almost instantly, leaving the dozens of people inside with almost no chance of escape.

That was borne out by the grim toll: 33 dead, with dozens more injured, including several in critical condition.

The attack appeared to be among the worst violent crimes in decades in famously safe Japan.

It sparked an outpouring of grief in Japan and beyond, as fans of the country’s famed anime industry expressed horror at the enormous loss.

On Friday people were laid flowers and said prayers at the charred Kyoto Animation building.

“These young people were the age of my grandchildren,” 78-year-old Sachiko Konishi told AFP of those killed in the attack, most of whom are presumed to be young employees of the company.

“If my grandchildren died under circumstances like this, I wouldn’t want to go on living.”

Yasuko Tomita, 59, was offering prayers near the building, which was still cordoned off.

“I’m praying to help the souls of those killed find release,” she said. 

Eyewitnesses described a raging inferno that left those outside unable to even approach to help people trying to escape.

“There was a person who jumped from the second floor... but we couldn’t rush to help because the fire was so strong,” one local woman told an online affiliate of the Asahi Shimbun daily.

“People with severe burns were crying uncontrollably, just completely dazed,” she added. – AFP



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