TOKYO – 27 people are believed to have died after a fire broke out at a building in Osaka, western Japan, fire department officials said on Friday, and police are investigating a possible cause. out arson.
The fire started on the fourth floor of an eight-story building in the Kitashinchi shopping and entertainment district, Osaka city fire department official Akira Kishimoto said.
28 people were affected, 27 of whom were found in cardiac arrest, Kishimoto said. So far 23 people have been taken to nearby hospitals, he said.
National broadcaster NHK said the building houses a internal medicine clinic, an English school and other business facilities.
The cause of the fire and other details were not immediately known. Osaka police said they were investigating to determine whether the fire was caused by arson or by accident.
People on other floors of the building are believed to have been evacuated, Kishimoto said.
NHK footage showed dozens of fire engines and police vehicles on the street near the building, with onlookers watching the development from across the street.
NHK quoted a witness as saying she heard a woman’s voice coming from the fourth floor asking for help. Another witness told TV Asahi that he saw orange flames and gray smoke coming out of windows on the fourth floor of the building when he stepped outside after hearing a noise.
In total, 70 fire engines were mobilized to fight the fires, most of which were extinguished within about 30 minutes of the emergency call, officials said.