Blaze kills 19 in western Japan

Police suspect act of arson, according to reports.

TOKYO (AA) – At least 19 people died on Friday in a fire at a medical clinic in western Japan, according to media reports.

The fire broke out in the clinic on the fourth floor of an eight-story building located near JR Osaka Station in Osaka City of the Kitashinchi district, Kyodo News reported.

Firefighters and ambulances were dispatched to the scene to extinguish the fire that started at around 10.20 a.m. (0120GMT).

The victims, including 17 men and 10 women, all showing no signs of life, were brought out from the building, the report added.

Police said they had intelligence that the fire was caused by some liquid leaking from a paper bag held by a man who appeared to be in his 60s and that it could be arson.

The clinic provides psychosomatic and psychiatric treatment services.


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