• Kyodo


A man apparently fatally torched a hostess and injured eight other people in a bar on the top floor of an eight-story building in downtown Kumamoto late Tuesday and was burned in the process.

Police on Wednesday identified the woman as Kazuyo Kawano, 32, the bar’s head hostess, and the man as a 52-year-old driver from the city of Kumamoto.

The fire, which broke out at about 10:45 p.m. in the Pure Gold Building, gutted a 60-sq.-meter area of the Mon Sheri bar and an adjacent tenant, police said.

They said the man who allegedly set the fire suffered serious burns and fell into a coma. The eight other victims sustained burns that were expected to take between one week and three months to recover from.

A bar employee said he saw the man throw a flammable, gasoline-smelling liquid from a plastic container at a woman inside the bar and then set it ablaze with a lighter.

There were five women and 12 men in the bar at the time, police said.

The man was an occasional patron at the bar, which opened recently for business. Investigators suspect the man may have had some grudge against Kawano or the bar.

The building, in the Shimotori district near Kumamoto Castle, has three tenants on each floor. Shimotori is the city’s main entertainment district.

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