TOKYO — Fire raced through a 50-year-old seaside hotel early today in the popular eastern Japanese resort of Atagawa. Holiday guests were trapped in the inferno as they slept, and 24 people were killed, authorities said.
The blaze, the third-worst hotel fire in Japanese history, reduced the three-story, wood-frame Daitokan Hotel annex to charred timbers and ash.
Hundreds of white-helmeted rescue workers searching through smoldering debris with cranes and blowtorches found 19 bodies by dusk. A police spokesman said there was no hope for survivors.
Police said 25 guests and three hotel employees were in the hotel, about 50 miles southwest of Tokyo, when the fire broke out. Two guests and two employees escaped, but police said the others were trapped as roaring flames raced through the building.