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Demolition of Kyoto Animation’s Fire-Hit 1st Studio Building Already Underway

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Japanese TV network NHK reported this week that demolition for Kyoto Animation’s burned 1st Studio Building has already started this Monday, with preparations for the demolition already underway. This includes building scaffolding and emptying out of the building and is expected to last until the end of the year. The actual demolition of the building is scheduled to begin in early January and will last until late April.

NHK also reported that Kyoto Animation is not yet decided on what they will do to the plot of land once the building is fully demolished. However, in an interview just two days after the tragic arson incident, KyoAni president Hideaki Hatta stated that he was considering building a public park on the land as well as a monument to the deceased employees.

Hatta’s decision to have the building demolished was in consideration to the neighborhood around the studio: “when I consider the staff and the people in this neighborhood, there are people who don’t want to see such a gruesome sight.” In a separate press conference last October 18, he also stated that “It truly pains my heart whenever I see that treasured building in that state.”

The fire started at around 10:30 AM JST on July 18, with the Kyoto City Fire Department immediately dispatching 30 fire engines to respond to the scene. Fire out was officially announced at 3:19 PM JST. Police apprehended a 41-year-old man who was seen by nearby residents to have poured gasoline around the building and then started the fire.

The suspect was identified to be a resident of Saitama City but used to live in Ibaraki Prefecture in Honshu, where he was indicted in 2012 for a convenience store robbery. He served three and a half years in jail for this crime. He was also found to have lived in a shelter for former convicts before moving in to his present address, which was found on the driver’s license he was carrying with him. He was also reported to have a mental illness, something which prosecutors expect will be used in court to his favor.

It will be remembered that he was in critical condition after being apprehended by the police shortly after he set fire to the studio, as he had burns all over his body. Police have already obtained a warrant for his arrest but are yet to arrest him. As of this writing, the suspect was reported to be undergoing rehabilitation and is already able to communicate as well.

The arson incident took the lives of 35 talented staff and animators. Last September, it was reported that the 34 injured employees are all recovering well.

Source: Anime News Network

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