NAGASAKI – Four elderly women died and another woman and a man remained unconscious Saturday after a fire broke out the evening before at a Nagasaki nursing home for patients suffering from dementia, police said.
They were among 12 people aged between 56 and 95 who were rushed to a hospital following the blaze, which started around 7:40 p.m. at the Bell House Higashiyamato and raged for roughly two hours.
The fatalities were Kisano Adachi, 88, Chiyoko Nakajima, 82, Hatsuko Inoue, 86, and Sawae Ota, 77. As of Saturday afternoon, Chisa Kumasaki, 90, and Kiyomitsu Makiyama, 78, had yet to regain consciousness.
As for the others injured, four were hospitalized and two were discharged after being treated. Firefighters responded after receiving a report from a passerby that smoke was streaming out of the care facility, which is in a residential area about 2 km from JR Nagasaki Station.
On Saturday, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency dispatched officials to the nursing home to investigate the cause of the fire.
Police suspect it started on the second floor of the four-story building because a room in its center was severely burned. Three of the four residents killed lived on the second floor, officers said.
In light of the blaze, Nagasaki’s municipal fire department began inspecting around 70 nursing homes in the city Saturday to confirm they were in compliance with the Fire Service Law.