33 People Killed in Suspected Arson Attack on Japanese Animation Studio
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
July 18, 2019
Black smoke could be seen billowing out the windows of a renowned Japanese animation studio after a man in his 40's broke into the building and set it ablaze Thursday morning.
Police say at least 33 people were killed and another 36 people injured by the blaze, some critically, that broke out shortly after 10:30 a.m. local time in the studio's 1st Studio building in Kyoto, Japan. The suspect, a 41-year-old man, poured an accelerant that appeared to be gasoline around the studio and set it on fire. He also was found with a backpack containing several knives. Authorities took the suspect to the hospital, who was seriously burned by the fire.
Witnesses say the man was heard screaming "You'll die!" as he set the building on fire. The suspect is not believed to be a company employee and due to his injuries, is not likely to be interrogated by police Thursday.
The largest number of victims were discovered on the top floor of the three-story building, Kyoto fire department official Kazuhiro Hayashi told reporters.
At least 48 engines were dispatched to the area, who worked through the day to get the fire under control.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo expressed his condolences on Twitter, writing the fire was "too appalling for words" and that he was praying "for a quick recovery."
Kyoto Animation - known as KyoAni - was founded in 1981 and produces anime novels, comics and books, featuring high school girls. Some of its bigger hits include "Lucky Star" and "K-On." Netflix recently picked up the studio's "Violet Evergarden" in 2018.
Thursday's attack became Japan's worst mass killing since 2016 when a man stabbed and killed 19 people at an assisted living facility in Western Tokyo.