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5 killed, 19 injured after fire destroys 2 boarding houses

9 Comments

Five people were killed and at least 19 people injured after a fire destroyed two adjacent boarding houses in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Sunday morning.

According to police and firefighters, flames were seen coming from the 3-story wooden Yoshida-ya boarding house at around 2 a.m. Fuji TV quoted witnesses as saying people were jumping from the third floor windows as the fire raged.

About 30 fire trucks were mobilized to battle the inferno which completely destroyed the two buildings. It took firefighters about 2 1/2 hours to extinguish the fire.

The bodies of five people were found, while 19 others suffered burns and smoke asphyxiation.

The low-rent boarding house said 74 people were registered as residents. At least eight people are missing, police said late Sunday.

Firefighters said no sprinklers were installed in the two buildings.

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9 Comments
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So preventable but 3000 yen or so is obviously too expensive an outlay for the 'landlord', disgraceful waste of life. Aren't the Fire Dept required to check these kinds of residences?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@UK9393 "Aren't the Fire Dept required to check these kinds of residences?"

NHK and others say they underwent a check less than a year ago and were found to be in compliance with current regulations regarding alarms, fire extinguishers, etc. They were not required to have sprinklers, based on size, number of residents, etc.

I happen to believe the current laws are inadequate (to put it mildly) and allow for too many fire traps such as this place turned out to be. But it is not fair to criticize the Fire Dept. Blame the ones who make the laws.

Many of the residents at these two facilities and similar are recipients of welfare who can't afford to live in better, safer places. Also note the owner in this case lived in the building and therefore was putting his or her own life in the same danger.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I am the first to acknowledge that the written medium can be hard to read nuance and meaning from, but... I didn't blame the Fire Department.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

a lot of these residents are so over priced its ridiculous how greedy land lords rather slum lords take advantage of people despite welfare or not. greed is greed for a 4x6 cell at 3,000 yen x 30 days, seems quite expensive and taking advantage of people..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ UK9393 "I am the first to acknowledge that the written medium can be hard to read nuance and meaning from, but... I didn't blame the Fire Department."

I apologize for misunderstanding your intended meaning. At first reading I thought you were implying that the Fire Dept had failed to fulfill their responsibility to do inspections. Reading your second comment and the first again I realize that is not what you meant. Again, sorry.

Back to the problems with these kinds of commercial lodging facilities. I really think even these "smaller" places should be required to have sprinkler systems.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I really don't know if the landlord ignored an instruction to install a sprinkler system. Nevertheless, if the boarding houses had been sprinklered, they could have extinguished a small fire before becoming a catastrophe.

May the victim's souls rest in peace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An accident waiting to happen, and it did!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ Monozuki at May. 18, 2015 - 05:36PM JST "I really don't know if the landlord ignored an instruction to install a sprinkler system."

I've seen a number of newspaper (online and print) as well as TV reports on this case and they all said these particular buildings weren't required to have sprinklers. My opinion is that the laws should be broadened to require sprinklers in more facilities.

Several of those who were lucky to be woken by the fire detector alarms still had to jump from windows because the fire spread so fast in these old tinderbox buildings (built in 1961 and 1962). Sprinklers probably could have prevented many of the deaths and injuries.

And today there was some talk of possible illegal construction regarding the third story. Along with more bodies possibly to be found it looks like there may be more nasty details about these facilities (and the many other similar ones in the area) to be coming.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Educator60

I've seen a number of newspaper (online and print) as well as TV reports on this case and they all said these particular buildings weren't required to have sprinklers.

Oh, that was it! That's quite new to me.

My opinion is that the laws should be broadened to require sprinklers in more facilities.

That's a great idea! I think you're absolutely right. I mean, it sounds like working.

Thanks for the feedback, Educator60.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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