Tokyo — A fire engulfed a home for elderly welfare recipients in northern Japan, killing 11 people, Japanese police said Thursday,AP reports.
The fire broke out before midnight Wednesday in Sapporo, the main city on the northern main island of Hokkaido. Sapporo police said five residents were rescued. Three of them were being treated at a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, they said.
Police so far identified the 11 victims only as eight men and three women. All 16 residents at the facility have been accounted for, said a police press official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to speak on the record.
Footage on public broadcaster NHK showed flames and smoke pouring out of the three-story building as firefighters battled the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The building was a former three-story inn that had been rented by the operator for use as a group home for the poor, and was about 50 years old, Kyodo News reported. The building lacked sprinklers, which were not compulsory for the type of facility, Kyodo said.