At Least 33 People Dead In Fire At Kyoto Animation Studio
At least 33 people have died, and dozens more injured, in a fire at an anime studio in Kyoto, Japan.
According to reports, local police have said a man broke into the Kyoto Animation Co studio - known as 'KyoAni' at around 10am on Thursday, before spraying an unidentified liquid in the building.
The 41-year-old suspect was reportedly heard saying 'drop dead' as he set fire to the building. He was said to have been injured in the incident and was detained in police custody.
Firefighters are still tackling the blaze and trying to save people who are trapped inside the three-storey studio, it has been reported.
Reports state that 36 people are currently being treated in hospital, and that around 70 were in the building when the blaze started.
It is the worst mass murder Japan has witnessed in nearly two decades.
The country's prime minister Shinzo Abe said the incident was "too appalling for words".
In a post to Twitter, he wrote: "It's so dreadful that I'm lost for words. I pray for those who passed away."
Residents claimed they heard a series of explosions and saw a cloud of black smoke coming from the studio earlier in the morning.
Speaking to local news agency Kyodo, a 59-year-old woman who lives nearby said: "A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints."
A manager of a hair salon added: "I heard a bang, and the black smoke and the burning smell were awful."
Since news of the tragic incident broke, anime fans have been taking to social media to share their condolences with those affected.
Writing on Twitter, one fan said: "Kyoto Animation are a rarity in the anime business: they treat their people well, they strive to own part of their works, and their creations are consistently excellent, at the very least on a technical level. Hoping to hell everyone is OK; the article reports some injuries."
Another added: "I'm horrified to hear about Kyoto Animation, that someone could do something so horrible to people who have brought so much joy is absolutely sickening."
A GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for the victims of the fire has already raised more than $135,000 (£108,000).
The description reads: "On July 18, 2019, an arsonist set the Kyoto Animation studio on fire injuring several people and leading to the loss of lives. Details on this unbelievable act are still developing.
"Sentai Filmworks hopes to help the KyoAni team during this time of need and asks that you join us in this endeavour."
The studio is known for producing popular animation shows including K-On! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Featured Image Credit: PA