At least 33 people were killed and dozens injured after a man on Thursday set fire to the studio, police said.
Flowers were placed outside the accident site in tribute to the victims. Some of them were from fans of the studio.
Local resident Atsuko Shimokawara and her husband run a convenience store nearby. The staff of the studio often shopped there in the past five years.
“Although I don’t know their names, I remember their looks. Many of them came to shop in the convenience store every day and I didn’t know if they were involved in the accident. I’m worried and have been following the news. We got along very well. Some of them got married and had kids and then came back to work. I didn’t know if they were involved in the accident. Their kids are very young,” said Shimokawara.
The fire was completely put out at 06:00 on Friday, 20 hours after the fire broke out, according to the local fire department.
On Thursday night, the last victim’s body was taken out of the building. Among the 33 dead, 19 were found lying on top of each other on the third-floor staircase to the roof. The police have yet to confirm why the door to the top deck failed to open, but it is possible the door was locked or deformed from the heat.
According to the witnesses, “the novel was stolen” was what was uttered by the arsonist when he was brought under control by the police. It’s confirmed that the 41-year-old man didn’t work at this studio, but it remains unclear whether there are other relations.
The man started to live in Saitama-ken Prefecture near Tokyo over three years ago. He has been involved in several disputes with neighbors since last August and neighbors hadn’t seen him since Tuesday.
Photo: CCTV 2019