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Smoke engulfed Kyoto studio in 1 minute

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A man breaks down in tears in front of the Kyoto Animation studio in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, on Thursday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunSmoke containing carbon monoxide is suspected to have completely filled a studio of Kyoto Animation Co. within one minute of an arson suspect setting fire to the first floor, in an attack that claimed dozens of lives last Thursday, according to the Kyoto prefectural police and the Kyoto City Fire Department.

The smoke quickly spread throughout the building via two stairwells, one of which held a spiral staircase.

Meanwhile, police have finished identifying all 34 of the victims.

According to police, Shinji Aoba, a 41-year-old man, allegedly broke into the studio in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, through the entrance on the first floor at about 10:35 a.m. on July 18, poured a bucket of gasoline around the spiral staircase and ignited it. The police have obtained an arrest warrant for Aoba on suspicion of crimes including arson and murder. The fire almost completely destroyed the three-story, steel-reinforced concrete building of about 700 square meters, killing 34 employees and others and injuring 34.

According to on-site investigations, the fire began on the west side of the spiral staircase and severely burned it all the way to the third floor, while soot from smoke completely covered the walls and ceilings in the other stairwell.

Still hard to accept

One week has passed since the arson attack that killed the creators of many great works of animation. Fans continue to come from both inside and outside Japan to pray at a flower memorial set up near the studio.

“It’s been one week, but it still feels like it happened just yesterday. I can’t accept it,” said a 43-year-old woman who came from Matsuyama with her 17-year-old daughter, as she wiped her eyes.

The woman and her daughter, who is in her second year of high school, are big fans of Kyoto Animation. The daughter belongs to an illustration club at school and hopes to work in the anime industry in the future. Her enthusiasm inspired her mother to begin watching shows by Kyoto Animation.

They offered messages written by friends in Matsuyama and vowed to continue supporting the company.

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