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Japan fire: the world’s deadliest infernos

By AFP
17 December 2021   |   9:40 am
Twenty-seven people are feared dead after a blaze swept through a commercial building housing a mental health clinic in the Japanese city of Osaka.

Firefighters work outside an office building where a fire broke out in Osaka on December 17, 2021. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

Twenty-seven people are feared dead after a blaze swept through a commercial building housing a mental health clinic in the Japanese city of Osaka.

Here is a look at some of the deadliest fires in the past two decades, which are often in mixed-use buildings.

Bangladesh
In 2010, about 120 people die in a fire at a wedding feast in a densely populated historic neighbourhood in the capital Dhaka.

Nine years later, at least 70 people die in a fire that ravages apartment buildings in Dhaka where chemicals are being illegally stored.

Britain
A blaze in the Grenfell Tower high-rise in west London in 2017 kills 72 people, Britain’s deadliest fire since World War II. An official report later blames highly combustible cladding fixed to the 24-storey block as the “principal reason” the fire spread.

China
Eighteen people die and around 20 are injured in 2011 after an electric tricycle catches fire next to a four-storey building in Beijing built without a permit.

A huge fire the previous year in a 28-storey apartment building being renovated in the Shanghai district of Jingan kills 58.

Some residents seek refuge on scaffolding or attempt to jump to safety.

Nineteen die in 2002 when a nine-storey building catches fire in Nanchong in Sichuan province. The blaze begins in a wholesale food market occupying the first three floors before spreading to upper levels where some 200 residents live.

France
In 2005, smoke from a fire in the entrance to an 18-storey block of flats in L’Hay-les-Roses kills 18 people. Four girls admit setting fire to mailboxes in the building after an argument.

Japan
A horrifying arson attack on the well-known Kyoto Animation anime studio in July 2019 kills 36 people and is the Japan’s deadliest violent crime in decades.

Police later charge the suspect, Shinki Aoba, with breaking into the building, “scattering gasoline on the ground floor, setting fire to it”.

Taiwan
A fire in a 13-storey mixed use block in Taiwan in October kills 46 people.

The blaze is the latest tragedy to highlight concerns over lax safety standards on the island and exposes the poor living conditions of many elderly in a society that is rapidly ageing.

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