12 presumed dead after suspected arson at Kyoto animation studio

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By Associated Press  with NBC News World News
Image: An aerial view shows firefighters battling fires at the site where a
An aerial view shows firefighters battling fires at the site where a man started a fire after spraying a liquid at a three-story studio of Kyoto Animation Co. in Kyoto, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo, July 18, 2019.   -   Copyright  Kyodo

TOKYO — A Japanese fire official says at least 12 people are presumed dead and more could be missing after they were trapped by fire at a popular animation production studio in Kyoto.

Kyoto fire department official Satoshi Fujiwara says 35 others have been injured, some of them critically.

He says firefighters found 12 people who are presumed dead inside the three-story building that was gutted by the blaze.

He says there are several others — up to 18 — who could not be reached but it is not clear if all those had reported to work Thursday.

A man is suspected of starting the fire early Thursday. He is among those injured in a hospital.

Kyoto Animation, better known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 as an animation and comic book production studio, and is known for mega-hit stories featuring high school girls, including "Lucky Star," ''K-On!" and "Haruhi Suzumiya."