27 people feared killed, scores injured in Osaka building fire

A fire that broke out at a building in western Japan’s Osaka City has left about 27 people dead and scores severely injured. Most of the injured did not have vital signs. Police investigating the fire suspect that it was caused by arson.

Dozens of firefighters were called to the building in Osaka’s Kita Ward. The fire began on the fourth floor of the eight-story building shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Friday. It was brought under control in about 30 minutes.

Rescue teams say a total of 28 people were injured. They add that 27 of the injured were in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. Three are no longer in that state. But police sources say 19 have died.

A medical clinic specializing in psychosomatic medicine and psychiatry is located on the fourth floor of the multipurpose building. An area measuring about 20 square meters was burned.

Police sources say a man believed to be in his 60s was seen by a witness holding a paper bag with liquid leaking from it. The witness said the fire started in an area where some of the liquid had fallen on the floor.

Police suspect the fire was started deliberately. They are investigating whether the man is among the injured.

The building is close to JR Kitashinchi Station in the downtown area of Osaka City.

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