Around 27 people are reported to be at risk of death after a building in Osaka was set ablaze on Friday, firefighters claim.
An official statement from Osaka’s fire department stated 27 people were in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.
The term is used in Japan before a death is officially confirmed.
One other person is reported to have sustained injuries.
The local fire department was informed of the blaze at around 10.20am.
An Osaka fire department official said: “The fire was detected at 10:18 am at the fourth floor.”
They added: “As of noon, 70 fire engines are at the scene.”
They were told the fire had started on the fourth floor of an six-floor building located in the city’s shopping and entertainment district and close to the major JR Osaka railway station.
Video footage also showed smoke around the six-storey building, which is said to include a psychiatry clinic.
A witness to the fire told NHK: “There was lots of a dark smoke… there was a very strong smell, too.”
Many victims were found to have been in a state of heart or lung failure.
The cause of the fire remains unknown but the blaze was extinguished at around 10.45am.
Police are investigating the scene for potential arson, according to Kyodo News.
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