Japan: At least 27 feared dead in Osaka building fire

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At least 27 people are feared to have died after a fire broke out in a building in downtown Osaka, Japan.

Police are investigating whether the blaze was started deliberately, public broadcaster NHK said.

They are investigating reports that a man spilled liquid that started the fire.

The victims suffered cardiopulmonary arrest, a term often used in preliminary reports before a death is officially confirmed, reports say.

Footage showed blackened windows after dozens of firefighters extinguished the blaze on the fourth floor.

All of those feared dead were reportedly in a psychiatric clinic on the fourth floor of the building, located in a busy commercial and entertainment district.

A man who appeared to be in his 50s or 60s was seen carrying a bag of liquid into the building, before knocking it over near a heater, spilling the liquid and starting the fire, Kyodo News reported.

The man was rushed to hospital and is in a critical condition, NHK reported.

Emergency services were alerted shortly after 10:00 local time (01:00 GMT) on Friday.

“There was lots of dark smoke,” one eyewitness told NHK, adding: “There was a very strong smell, too.”

Another witness said she saw a woman in the building calling for help.

“When I looked outside I saw orange flames at the fourth-floor window,” she told Kyodo News. “A woman was waving her hands for help from the sixth floor.”

Some people were evacuated from the building by fire crews using ladders.

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