MAEBASHI, Gunma Pref. (Kyodo) The bodies of seven people were recovered from a nursing home in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture, after a fire broke out there late Thursday evening, police said.

The seven were among 17 elderly people being cared for at the Tamayura care home at the time, including one staffer.

Police are investigating the fire as possible arson.

The fire also burned four other people, three seriously. The remaining six, including the staffer, were confirmed safe.

The fire broke out at around 11 p.m. and burned all three of the nursing home’s buildings before it was extinguished about two hours later.

The nursing home had not submitted the documents needed to register as such, Gunma officials said, adding they are looking into whether the facility met safety requirements. It had no sprinklers.

Gunma police are also asking Goro Takakuwa, 84, who runs the care home, about safety measures taken to protect the residents.

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