A Japanese fire official says at least 12 people are presumed dead and more could be missing after they were trapped by fire at a popular animation production studio in Kyoto.

Kyoto fire department official Satoshi Fujiwara says 35 others have been injured, some of them critically.

He says firefighters found 12 people who are presumed dead inside the three-storey building that was gutted by the blaze.

He says there are several others — up to 18 — who could not be reached but it is not clear if all those had reported to work Thursday.

A man is suspected of starting the fire early Thursday. He is among those injured in a hospital.