Kyoto Animation Studio Struck by Fire in Suspected Arson Attack, At Least 33 Dead

Fire was started intentionally, according to Kyoto prefecture police

kyoto animation fire

A deadly fire engulfed the Kyoto Animation studio in a suspected arson attack that killed at least 33 people and injured another 36, Kyoto fire department official Kazuhiro Hayashi told the Associated Press.

Kyoto prefecture police said a man ran into the three-story production facility and sprayed an unidentified liquid that set off the blaze, shouting, “Drop dead,” according to the BBC. The suspect, a 41-year-old man whom police said was not a company employee, is among those injured and recovering in a local hospital.

Video from NHK News shows plumes of smoke billowing from the three-story building as first responders and firefighters combat the blaze and attend to the injured. Fire officials said about 70 people were in the building when the blaze broke out, the Associated Press reported.

Kyoto Animation is a popular animation and comic book production studio that has produced numerous anime shows and films that are widely known in Japan.

Founded in 1981, its popular titles include “Full Metal Panic,” “K-On!!,” “Sound Euphorium” and numerous features in the “Free!” series. Netflix streams the studio’s “Violet Evergarden” series to the global market. The studio’s nickname is “KyoAni” — an amalgamation of Kyoto and anime.

Though not widely known outside Japan, Kyoto Animation did secondary animation work on a 1998 “Pokemon” feature that appeared in U.S. theaters and a “Winnie the Pooh” video.