Suspected Studio Arsonist May Have Lit Fire near Spiral Staircases

Society

Kyoto, July 20 (Jiji Press)--The man suspected of setting ablaze a famous animation studio in the city of Kyoto, western Japan, on Thursday is believed to have lit a fire near spiral staircases in the three-story building, investigative sources said Saturday.

The suspected arson attack on the No. 1 studio of Kyoto Animation Co. has left more than 30 people dead and many others injured.

Investigators of the Kyoto prefectural police department believe that flames and smoke quickly reached the top floor of the studio through the spiral staircases, blocking Kyoto Animation employees inside the building from escaping.

The suspect, Shinji Aoba, 41, allegedly entered the studio from its main entrance on the first floor around 10:30 a.m. Thursday (1:30 a.m. GMT), released gasoline from what is thought to be a bucket and ignited the liquid with a lighter to set the studio on fire.

An eyewitness told the police that an explosion occurred at the studio right after a man believed to be Aoba entered the building, according to the sources. Areas between the main entrance and the spiral staircases were found to have been severely burned, the sources said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press