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13 children among 19 dead in Qatar mall fire



Smoke rises above the Villaggio Mall, in Doha's west end, as a fire took hold of the upscale mall in the Qatari capital of Doha Monday May 28, 2012. Qatar's Interior Ministry said 13 children were among 19 people killed in a fire that broke out at one of the Gulf state's fanciest shopping mall on Monday. The Villaggio opened in 2006 and is one of Qatar's most popular shopping and amusement destinations. It includes an ice skating rink and indoor Venice-style gondola rides. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

DOHA—A fire that erupted at a nursery in a huge Venice-themed shopping center in the expat-dominated Qatari capital of Doha on Monday killed 19 people including 13 children, the interior ministry said.

Four of the children who died were Spanish, said a foreign ministry spokeswoman in Madrid, while Paris announced that a three-year-old French child also perished.

The blaze left “19 dead, including 13 children, among them seven girls and six boys, in addition to four female teachers,” the interior ministry said on its Twitter page, citing Qatar’s health minister.

Two members of the civil defense also died in the fire at the capital’s Villaggio mall, it said.

The fire broke out at a nursery, state minister for the interior Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Thani told reporters.

“The first report of fire at Villaggio was received by the operations centre at 11:02 am (0802 GMT),” he said, according to the QNA state news agency, pointing out that police and civil defence reached the site within minutes.

He said it became clear that “20 children were at the nursery in the complex and all efforts were concentrated on evacuating those kids,” adding that firefighters had to break through the roof to get to trapped children after a staircase to the first-floor nursery collapsed.

Dense smoke inside the mall combined with the fierce temperature from the flames made reaching the trapped children very difficult, a civil defence representative told a news conference.

Health Minister Khaled al-Qahtani said all fatalities were caused by asphyxiation, adding that 17 people were injured, mostly firefighters.

Footage posted online showed black smoke billowing from the shopping centre as emergency vehicles rushed to the scene.

Al-Thani told reporters that the “public prosecution has taken charge of the investigation.”

Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani ordered the setting up of a special commission to probe the deadly blaze, the Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite television station reported.

In Madrid, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said: “Four of the dead children are Spanish,” and added that Spanish embassy officials were trying to get more details.

Yamina Benguigui, the minister in charge of French expatriates, announced in Paris that a French child died in the blaze, but she declined to give any further details, including whether the victim was a boy or a girl.

“It is with great sorrow that I confirm that a French child aged three is among the victims,” she said in a statement.

Villaggio Mall was opened in 2006. The Venetian-styled center boasts a mall area of 125,000 square meters. Its main feature is a canal on which genuine gondolas ferry visitors through the mall.

Thanks to its wealth of oil and natural gas reserves, combined with a tiny population of less than two million, mostly foreigners, Qatar is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of per capita income, coming second only to tiny Liechtenstein.


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Tags: Children , Fire , Middle East , Qatar


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PYLK7UPHEAHQKAMEX5A4QNE3TM Liz

    Agence France-Presse: You “forgot” to mention that three of those who died in the fire were Filipina teachers! Nice of you to miss that out.

    • galnxdoor

      Could be that this news article was written from the Spanish AFP timeline, and just lifted by PDI. There were casualties from other nationalities too not mentioned here but has been reported in the home country. Cheers.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PYLK7UPHEAHQKAMEX5A4QNE3TM Liz

    This is why your country will never prosper. First, you don’t check the facts. Second, you don’t seem to care about your fellow citizens. What a shame for such a beautiful country with “journalists” such as your self.

    • Danyale Quinto

      @Liz:  what’s the connection of being a not-so-prosperous country from journalism? you’re missing the point here. If you are not a filipino and perhaps you have no idea, Agence France-Presse is not a filipino news wire service, it is a French, got it?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PYLK7UPHEAHQKAMEX5A4QNE3TM Liz

    How did the Philippine Embassy react on this? Why you and your foreign attache are so mum about the death of your fellow Filipinos?

  • tanzangluma

    condolence.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OORRW7FV7ABGBHYVA6KKRJVLX4 Dondon

    they can’t report that yet (having filipino casualties sans concrete infos from source), that’s basic in news reporting…



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