5 Dead After Fire in Aomori Pref. House; Police Suspect Arson

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police are on duty near Toshimi Jumonji’s house on Thursday morning.

AOMORI — Five bodies were discovered after a fire destroyed a two-story house in Aomori Prefecture early Thursday, police said, who suspect arson as a possible cause because of how extensively the fire engulfed the building.

The fire broke out at around 1 a.m. at the house of Toshimi Jumonji, 68, a plasterer in the town of Rokunohe. The wooden building with a floor space of 340 square meters was destroyed, and the fire was brought under control about five hours later, according to police.

Five bodies were discovered, but their sex is unknown, police said. Police have not been able to contact four of Jumonji’s eight family members who live in the house. The four are Jumonji’s wife, 67; his mother-in-law, 88; his younger daughter, 39; and his granddaughter, 9, according to the police.

Police suspect one of the bodies did not belong to a resident of the house.

The house of Toshimi Jumonji is engulfed in flames early Thursday in Rokunohe, Aomori Prefecture, in this image posted on the Twitter account of a neighbor

One of Jumonji’s two teenage grandsons made an emergency call at around 1:10 a.m., according to police. Jumonji and his grandsons escaped unhurt. Jumonji’s son-in-law was not at the house at the time of the fire because of his job.

Police are conducting autopsies to determine the cause of death and the identities of the five.

The fire also destroyed a garage and another building on the premises.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ruins are seen on Thursday morning after the fire.