A fire broke out at a hospital in southern Japan early on Friday, killing 10 people, the police and fire department said.

Fukuoka prefectural police said another eight people were injured in the fire at an orthopaedic hospital that apparently started while patients were sleeping. Police said eight of the dead were patients, and the remaining two were hospital staff.

Several of those injured were in serious condition, said Akiharu Otsu, a Fukuoka city fire department official. The fire has been extinguished after burning most of the building, Mr. Otsu said.

Police said the fire started from the ground floor of the four-storey building, but the cause was still under investigation.

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