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Arson suspect identified in Osaka building fire that killed 24

Two women are rescued by a firefighter in a bucket crane outside the World Trade Centre in Hong Kong
Associated Press

An arson suspect was identified after a building in Osaka, Japan, caught fire on Thursday, killing 24 people. 

Japanese police said 61-year-old Morio Tanimoto is suspected of setting fire to the building, but has not been formally arrested or charged, The Associated Press reported.

He is in the hospital in serious condition after authorities rescued him from the fire, which began at a mental clinic where he was allegedly a patient, an official at the prefectural police investigation department told The AP.

The official told the AP that police searched Tanimoto’s home and found a patient card for the clinic on Saturday. 

The mental clinic was on the fourth floor of an eight-story building. Witnesses said they saw a man put a paper bag by the heater in the clinic and kick it over, spilling out liquid which then that caught fire, according to authorities, per the AP. 

Police believe there were so many victims because the emergency stairway was not accessible due to the fire, the AP reported. 

Following the incident, Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yasushi Kaneko ordered an investigation of roughly 30,000 commercial buildings in the country that have multiple floors and only one emergency stairway, according to the AP.

Tags Arson Japan Osaka Osaka building fire
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