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A mountain of garbage on the landing outside a mah-jongg game parlor destroyed in a fatal fire early Saturday was blocking a fire door, stopping it from automatically closing when fire alarms went off, police investigating the blaze said Wednesday.

If the fire door in the third-floor lobby of the building in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward had been working properly, some of the 44 people who perished might have been saved, the police said.

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