According to the Japan Times, a major fire broke out at the Kyoto Animation studio on Thursday morning. The studio has worked on numerous anime films and series, including Full Metal Panic, K-On!, Free!, Clannad, and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. Around 40 people are reported to have been injured in the blaze. Police suspect the fire may have been a result of arson, and have taken a suspect into custody for questioning. The suspect is a man who was reportedly seen entering the facility, pouring liquid around it, and then lighting the fire. He is currently also being treated for injuries at a local hospital.
Update, July 18: The Japan Times is now reporting that at least 33 people have died and dozens are injured. Around 70 people were working in the building when the fire began at around 10:30 a.m. No information about the suspect’s motive has been released yet, but he reportedly screamed “Die!” as he entered the building, according to the Japan Times and the New York Times, then attempted to escape but “collapsed on the street outside.” Anime fans have already launched a GoFundMe to support the animators, and so far it’s raised over $680,000.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe released a statement about the fire on Twitter, saying, “It is so horrifying that I am at a loss for words. I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the victims. I offer my thoughts to those who have been wounded and pray for their recovery, by even one day.”