Eleven elderly people killed in a blaze in Sapporo, Japan

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“A 20-meters column of flames shot up soon after the roof burned down,” a witness said to media. Television footage showed dozens of firefighters battling the blaze in snowy conditions. The house  was not equipped with sprinklers because  it was not required under Japanese law. It was a huge blaze seen from large distance.

the-building-after-blaze
The building after blaze

Those from inside the house paid a monthly rent of around 36,000 yen (£230) to stay in the accommodation, which also provided them with help finding jobs and food. The facility was run by a local organization that supports poor and homeless people. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. The fire sparked memories of a similar incident in Sapporo in 2010 when seven residents of a private nursing home for the elderly were killed in a pre-dawn fire. Japan is a rapidly ageing society. Over 35 million Japanese people were 65 or older last year, or 27.8 percent of the total population, up from 21.5 percent a decade ago, government data showed.

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