Police suspect arson in a fire that potentially killed 27 people after breaking out Friday in Osaka, western Japan’s largest city.
A total of 28 people have been injured by the blaze that started on the fourth floor of an eight-story building before 10:30 a.m., according to Japan’s national broadcaster. Of those injured, 27 were in cardiopulmonary arrest.
Police suspect the fire was an act of arson, and law enforcement sources told NHK that a man in his 60s was seen holding a paper bag leaking liquid, Witnesses say the fire started in an area where some of the liquid fell on the floor. The multi-use building contained a medical clinic.
The fire drew dozens of firefighters to the building, located in Osaka’s Kita Ward, and was brought under control in 30 minutes, according to NHK.
“When I looked outside (from my nearby office), I saw an orange flame in the window on the fourth floor of the building,” one witness said. “A woman was waving from the window on the sixth floor and seeking help.”
The fire department said the blaze burnt across an area of about 20 square meters, and about 70 firetrucks and ambulances responded to the scene.