Police have stated that 24 people died on Friday when a fire broke out in a mental clinic on the eighth floor of a multi-tenant building in Osaka. Arson and murder were suspected.
According to the fire department of the largest city in western Japan, 28 people have been injured and affected directly by the fire. Police received the report for fire at 10:18 AM. The fire broke out on the fourth floor, without any fire sprinklers.
According to police, the fire was started by a man in his 50s or 60s visiting the clinic on the floor. According to an investigator, he was one of the 28 people taken to the hospital. He is still unconscious.
(Update: the 61-year-old male patient is suspected of starting the fire. He’s still alive but seriously injured at the hospital.)
According to witnesses, police believe that the man placed a paper bag containing a suspicious near the clinic’s reception. The police said he kicked the bag and ignited the fire when the liquid escaped. Of the twenty-seven of the total rescued people, 17 were men, and ten were women in their 20s-60s. According to the fire department, 17 of the rescued patients from the clinic have died. This was apparently due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
After 25 square meters of clinic floor space got burnt, the fire department almost extinguished the fire at 10:45 AM. The clinic is located near JR Osaka Station and offers psychosomatic and psychiatric treatment, according to the website. According to police, the entrance and exit areas of the clinic were severely damaged, and many people inside may have been unable to escape.
Osaka’s safety inspection of March 2019 revealed that it had not found any fire protection problems in the building. According to the department, the absence of fire sprinklers did not constitute a violation as they were not required by law due to the building’s size and the number of floors.