At least 27 people feared dead in blaze in Japanese city of Osaka

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At least 27 people were feared killed on Friday when a fire broke out in a commercial building in a shopping district in the Japanese city of Osaka.

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Police were investigating the cause of the fire on the fourth floor of the eight-storey building for suspected arson, Kyodo News reported, citing investigative sources.

An official at the city’s fire department said 27 people were in cardiopulmonary arrest - a term used in Japan before a death is officially confirmed - and one person was injured.

Video on public broadcaster NHK showed smoke pouring out of the building’s fourth floor windows, where a psychiatry clinic is located, and at the roof of the building.

The fire was reported shortly after the clinic opened for business at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) and was mostly extinguished within 30 minutes, NHK reported.

Other floors of the building, which is near the Osaka’s main station in the centre of the city, were occupied by a beauty salon, a clothes shop and an English-language school, NHK said. One man told the broadcaster he saw a woman calling for help from one of the windows.

An arson attack at an animation studio in the city of Kyoto in 2019 killed more than 30 people and injured dozens.

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