KYOTO, JAPAN. Emergency services were called to the Kyoto Animation Studio Building No. 1 at 10:30AM JST today (July 18, 2019) after the building was engulfed in a massive fire, leaving at least 36 people injured, 10 of whom are in critical condition,
with at least 30 more still missing, and a death toll of over 20 people and rising. The incident is now being considered as one of the worst arson/massacre cases in Japan.
UPDATE (7/18/2019) 9:30PM JST: Search and rescue efforts have already ended. The whole building was already scoured for survivors and remaining bodies. Police and emergency rescue teams have confirmed 33 dead and 35 injured overall in the incident.
The suspect, a 41-year-old man, already identified as Shinji Aoba, entered the said building and screamed “GO DIE!” before dousing the area with gasoline and lighting it up in flames. A plastic container said to hold the combustible liquid, and a set of knives, said to be the man’s possessions, were also retrieved on the site. The suspect has been apprehended by the police immediately after the incident, and is undergoing treatment in the hospital. Before leaving the scene, the man admitted to the crime.
Eyewitness accounts indicate that some of the victims ran out of the building badly burned or engulfed in flames. Police have also confirmed that the suspect was not a current or former employee of the company, while other reports say that the suspect “was ripped off” by KyoAni (rough translation of “パクリやがって “, and may mean different things depending on context).
— ヤノパイセン (@mipyong1) July 18, 2019
As of 3:20PM JST, the fire has been declared completely extinguished. Police and emergency teams are undergoing search and rescue operations. Many victims have been found dead on the spot, some of which have suffered cardiac arrests during or after the incident. The building is said to be where most of the 3D CG work and main animation is done. Thankfully, this is not the only building that KyoAni has. There are at least two other offices that the studio holds, located in a different area.
Kyoto Animation Studio is an anime studio and light novel publisher, established in 1981. The studio has produced successful anime hits, such as K-On!!, Hyouka, Love, Chuunibyo and Other Delusions, Hibike! Euphonium, and Netflix’s Violet Evergarden to name a few.
Our hearts and prayers go to the all the victims, and deepest condolences to the families whose loved ones have passed away in the incident.