Japanese police are investigating the blaze, which is feared to have killed at least 27 people

TOKYO, Dec. 17 (Reuters) – A fire at a psychiatric hospital in Osaka, Japan, on Friday left 27 people dead and police are investigating the possibility of a fire, media reports said.

A fire broke out on the fourth floor of an office building at around 10am (0100 GMT) in the bustling district of the western Japanese city, public broadcast NHK reported.

A man in his 60s was seen carrying a bag of leaking fluid in the reception area of ​​the clinic before the fire broke out, the NHK said, citing people close to the investigation.

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More than 20 people have been confirmed dead, broadcaster Asahi said. An official from the Osaka City Fire Department told Reuters that 27 people were suffering from heart and lung failure, a death that was used in Japan before it was officially confirmed. Another was injured, the official said.

According to the NHK, the fire was largely extinguished within 30 minutes. The broadcaster’s footage showed smoke coming out of the fourth floor windows and roof. Later, the windows were scorched.

“When I looked outside I saw orange flames in the fourth floor window of the building. A woman was waving her hands for help from the sixth floor window,” a 36-year-old woman working in a nearby office told Kyoto. .

This photo taken by Kyoto shows fire engines in front of the building where the fire broke out on December 17, 2021 in Osaka, western Japan. Via Kyoto / REUTERS

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Located in the shopping and entertainment district, not far from Osaka’s main train station, the building houses a beauty parlor, a clothing store and an English language school, the NHK said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his condolences and said authorities would find out the cause of the fire.

The father of a doctor who ran the clinic told the Yomiuri newspaper that he could not contact his son by mobile phone.

“I was surprised to hear the news of the fire on the television in the afternoon. My wife went to the place. But we did not know what was going on. I could not contact my son’s phone.”

The clinic’s web page was not accessible, but an online archive from the beginning of this year showed that patients were being treated for depression and panic problems as well as physical problems such as sleep apnea and anemia.

Another woman, who saw smoke coming from the window, told Kyoto that the electricity had been cut off for some time in the surrounding area.

In 2019, more than 30 people were killed and dozens injured in a fire attack on an animation studio in Kyoto.

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Report by Kyoshi Tokenaka, Rocky Swift, Sakura Murakami, Daniel Lucink and Magiko Yamazaki Sang-Ron Kim, Jane Wardell and David Dolan; Editing by Robert Brussel and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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