The death toll at the Kyoto Animation Co. building is expected to rise and the city’s fire department said that 36 people were injured in the blaze, some critically.
A Kyoto prefectural police spokesperson said a 41-year-old man suspected of carrying out the attack also had a backpack containing several knives. The suspect poured what appeared to be gasoline around the studio and set it on fire.
The suspect is currently in hospital with serious burn injuries and police do not expect to be able to question him on Thursday.
The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET) in the company’s 1st Studio building in Kyoto’s Fushimi-ku district. Police said a resident reported hearing a sound like an explosion coming from the studio.
About 48 fire engines have been dispatched to the area and are currently trying to get the fire under control.
Footage from the scene shows thick smoke billowing out of the four-story building, which is located in a residential area several kilometers south of Kyoto Station, as firefighters worked to douse the flames.
The company’s philosophy as posted on its website includes keeping a “humanitarian” corporate culture and believes that “promoting the growth of people is equal to creating the brightness of works.”
There was an outpouring of grief on Twitter Thursday with fans of the studio offering their condolences.
This is a developing story.