Deadly Qatar mall blaze started at nursery, minister says

May 29, 2012

A fire that engulfed Doha’s main shopping centre started at a nursery, State Minister for Interior, Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani told reporters, adding that an investigation on the source of the blaze was underway.

Relatives speaking to news agencies at the hospital said that the tragedy was made worse because there were no fire alarms and water sprinklers did not turn on during the blaze.

Qatar’s interior ministry Monday evening confirmed that 19 people died in the Villagio Mall blaze in the morning.

“The death toll was 19. The victims were seven girls, six boys, four teachers from a nursery and two civil defence personnel,” the ministry said on the social network.

The victims included people from Arab countries, Spain, Japan, the Philippines and Benin, reports from Doha said.

Children’s nursery

According to web news, the fire reportedly started in Gympanzee, the children’s nursery at the mall, but it was not yet clear what set it off.

Some 180 emergency workers were deployed to put out the fire. However, they faced difficulty reaching the play area.

Most of the 17 people injured in the blaze were emergency workers.

Officials at a press conference in the evening said that the firefighters’ efforts were initially thwarted by the heavy smoke and the heat.

Rescue teams were not aware that those trapped inside the mall were children, the reports said.

The Villaggio mall will be closed until the investigation launched by the interior ministry is complete and everything is repaired.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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