National

Fire at Yokohama lodging house leaves two dead and eight injured

Kyodo

A man and a woman were killed and eight others were injured early Friday when a fire broke out at a lodging house in Yokohama, police said.

The fire broke out in a room on the fifth floor of the 10-story Ogiso Bekkan lodging house, which provides low-priced accommodation in Naka Ward, at around 6:15 a.m.

The fire was contained in about an hour but had already spread to four other rooms and a shared bathroom, police and firefighters said. The cause was not immediately known.

About 140 people were believed to be inside when the fire broke out.

Those killed or injured are all likely to be people who were staying there, police said. One of the injured appears to be in serious condition. Police also found a body of a man in a room on another floor but believe his death is unrelated because he appears to have died a couple of days before.

The lodging house is one of many such establishments roughly 500 meters west of Ishikawacho Station. The district is well-known as a place where day laborers live.

A 47-year-old man staying at the house said: “It was terrible. The emergency staircase was filled with people and I was at a loss about how to evacuate.”

Another man who was staying there said he was awakened by an announcement asking people to evacuate and saw black smoke. He said he had been scheduled to receive his welfare benefits that day, and was shocked to experience such a thing.

Neighbors said many of the people staying at the lodging house are on welfare or receive day care services for the elderly.

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