Police and firefighters on Oct. 18 search a house in Sendai where six people died in a predawn fire. (Video footage by Kenji Notsu and Yosuke Fukudome)

SENDAI--Six people believed to be family members died in an early morning blaze that gutted a two-story wooden house in Sendai's Taihaku Ward on Oct. 18.

The fire broke out at 2:20 a.m. at the house, with a floor space of about 140 square meters, and was extinguished after 6 a.m., after 17 firefighting and other vehicles arrived at the scene, according to Miyagi prefectural police.

According to the Sendai-Minami Police Station and the city’s fire department, the house was owned by Yoshio Honma, 72.

Honma lived there with his wife, 71, his two daughters, aged 39 and 42, and his two grandsons, 6 and 9 years old. Nearby residents said the grandsons are siblings who attended a nearby elementary school and nursery center.

Police said they have been unable to contact the six people, leading to suspicions that the entire family died in the blaze.

Four bodies were found in rooms on the first and second floors, while the other two bodies were discovered on a veranda.

In August 2017, a suspicious late-night fire burned a car and bicycle at the same house, according to sources.

A 35-year-old man who was one of the people who reported the Oct. 18 fire said he was in a nearby office when he heard a man and woman screaming, “Help, help.”

When the man went outside, he saw that the flames had reached the second story of the Honma house. He tried to approach the home but was warned by a firefighter to stay away.

“I was unable to do anything,” the man said. “I could only stand there, stunned.”

Two neighboring buildings were damaged in the blaze, but no injuries were reported, according to the police and fire department.