Police were searching for a man in his 50s to 60s who witnesses saw carrying a paper bag from which an unidentified liquid was dripping. He may have been among the 24 dead, or is one of the three people who were resuscitated and remain in serious conditions, or may have fled, a police investigator said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

A fire that spread from a fourth-floor mental clinic in an eight-story building in downtown Osaka in western Japan on Friday left 24 dead in what police were investigating as a possible case of arson and murder, AP reports.

Police were searching for a man in his 50s to 60s who witnesses saw carrying a paper bag from which an unidentified liquid was dripping. He may have been among the 24 dead, or is one of the three people who were resuscitated and remain in serious conditions, or may have fled, a police investigator said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Fire officials who reached the building in the major business, shopping and entertainment area of Kitashinchi in Osaka found 27 people in a state of cardiac arrest, said Osaka fire department official Akira Kishimoto.

One woman was conscious and brought down by an aerial ladder from a window on the sixth floor and was being treated in a hospital, he said. Later Friday, 24 people were pronounced dead, the fire department said.

In Japan, the authorities customarily describe those without vital signs as being in “shinpai teishi,” or a state of cardiac and pulmonary arrest, and do not confirm deaths until they are pronounced at hospitals and other necessary procedures are done.

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