Dozens of people have been killed and suspected to have been set on fire in Japan

TOKYO – A fire on Friday on the fourth floor of a bustling office building in western Japan’s largest city, Osaka, has killed at least 27 people. Police were investigating whether the fire could have been started.

The fire was first reported at 10:20 a.m. and extinguished shortly after 20 minutes. National broadcaster NHK reported that rescue workers could be seen carrying people from the building on stretchers. One survived, the broadcaster said.

The fire broke out in an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 200 square feet of an eight-story building located next to the largest railway station in the port city. On the fourth floor, where the fire is believed to have started, was a medical hospital specializing in internal medicine and psychiatry.

Police officers told the NHK, a witness, a witness, a little bit of fire, a person aged 60 years old.

With reports of potential fires, I was immediately reminded of the 2019 fire at an anime studio in Kyoto, another city in western Japan. Were killed 33 people and dozens were injured.

Before that, the last major fire in the Downtown building in Japan was two decades ago, in the vicinity of Tokyo’s Shinjuku. 44 people were killed as they tried to escape from a blocked staircase.

Ai Sekizawa, an expert on fire at the Tokyo University of Science, who spoke with the NHK, said the fire on Friday was “shocking”.

“We do not know the details yet, but there is sometimes only one emergency staircase in many small tenant buildings,” he said, adding that a fire near the exit could have caused suffocation or smoke inhalation as people tried to escape.

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Hikari Hida Contributed report.

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