Kyoto, July 18: At least 26 people were killed in a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Japan's Kyoto city on Thursday. According to local media reports, a man broke into Kyoto Animation Co, also known as KyoAni, and set the studio on fire using petrol. The accused, identified as a 41-year-old man, has been detained following the arson attack. He was rushed to a hospital with injuries.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the incident was "too appalling for words" and offered condolences to those affected. About 70 people were believed to have been working at Kyoto Animation Co. when the fire erupted at around 10:35 am. At least 10 people were rescued from the three-storey building with "no vital signs" of injury. 19 Hurt, Including Children, in Japan Stabbing Attack: Fire Dept.
Eyewitnesses told the police that the suspect yelled "drop dead" as he set fire to the building. They said they heard a series of explosions and saw black smoke billowing out of the building. People were later seen being carried out of the studio covered in blankets, Kyodo News reported. "A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints," a 59-year-old woman who lives nearby told Kyodo News.
Kyoto Animation has produced popular TV animation series including "K-On!" and "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu), which depict the daily lives of high school girls. On social media, many fans expressed their shock and posted pictures of their favourite KyoAni shows.
A GoFundMe campaign titled "Help KyoAni Heal" was also started, with more than $50,000 raised in an hour.