Suspected arson attack on Japan animation studio kills 24

70 people were reported to be in the building when the fire started

kyoto_reuters Fire fighters at the Kyoto Animation building | Reuters

A man allegedly threw liquid at an animation studio in Tokyo, Japan and set it on fire. The attack has killed 24 people and injured dozens.

Fire department officials said bodies were being discovered as they searched the ravaged building of Kyoto Animation. According to the police, information for a possible motive is not known yet.

70 people were reported to be in the building when the fire started. As per sources at the fire department, at least 11 more people had been found "in cardio-respiratory arrest," a term used in Japan to signify a victim's death before it is officially certified.

Officials also confirmed that 35 people had also been injured in the fire, 10 of whom were in serious condition. The suspect, a 41-year-old, was taken to the hospital before he was arrested. The fire department had been receiving calls since 10.35 in the morning about the fire.

"Callers reported having heard a loud explosion from the first floor of Kyoto Animation and seeing smoke," a fire department spokesman said.

"I heard two loud bangs, they sounded like explosions," a man told NHK.

"The fire was raging hard. I saw red flames flaring." A woman living nearby said.

The blaze prompted an outpouring of support from those in Japan's anime industry, one of the country's best known cultural exports.

Japan has a famously low crime rate, with violent crime very rare. Arson is considered a serious crime and people convicted of deliberately setting fires in a country where many people still live in wooden houses can face the death penalty.