Qatar reels after Villaggio fire kills 19, including 13 children
Nineteen expats have been killed, including 13 children and 2 firefighters, in a fire at Villaggio Mall that residents are calling Qatar’s biggest tragedy in recent memory.
Seventeen additional people were injured, 13 of whom remain in the hospital, officials said.
The cause of death for many of the children - six boys, seven girls - and the four teachers was suffocation due to smoke inhalation, the health minister said.
Though officials said response time was quick - Al Fazaa was on the scene one minute after receiving a call about the fire - lack of floorplans, thick smoke and heat and malfunctioning sprinkler systems severely inhibited rescue efforts.
“We tried our best, but when we got there, the children were trapped inside. We are very sorry for what happened. We tried as much as we could to save these people,” the minister of state said.
And the state minister has said a higher committee will be formed to follow the matter of safety requirements at buildings.
The health minister said an official list of the dead will not be released, but media reports say three New Zealanders, four Spanish children and a French child were among those killed.
Doha News is trying to compile one to help the community mourn collectively.
Villaggio Mall will be closed indefinitely pending a thorough investigation and to make necessary repairs, officials said.