Electric fault sparked deadly fire in Qatar mall

Villaggio Mall fire killed 19 expatriates including 13 children and four teachers
Electric fault sparked deadly fire in Qatar mall
Among the victims who died in the tragedy were two-year old New Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes.
By Sara Anabtawi
Thu 14 Jun 2012 11:03 AM

An electrical fault caused a deadly fire at a shopping mall in Qatar last month that killed 19 expatriates, state news agency QNA said, citing investigators.

The fire at Doha Villaggio Mall, which killed 13 children including two-year old triplets, was due to faulty electrical wiring in a fluorescent light and was not premeditated, according to the report.

Children trapped in the neighbouring Gympanzee nursery were not discovered until half an hour after firefighters arrived at the scene. The unlicensed nursery did not meet required safety conditions.

Investigators found a “lack of adherence to laws, systems, and measures by all concerned parties to different degrees. This includes adherence to design, license and safety conditions, which contributed to the Villagio catastrophe,” said the report.

Among the victims were Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, four teachers and two firefighters. Other victims in the blaze included expats from Spain, Japan, the Philippines, Benin and Arab countries not including Qatar, officials said.

At least five people were arrested as part of the probe, including the daughter of Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

Iman Al-Kuwari, who ran the Gympanzee childcare facility in the retail centre, was arrested along with the mall’s manager, assistant manager and the assistant director of security.

Villaggio, a 360,000 sq m retail centre, opened in 2006. It was named one of the world’s most luxurious malls by Forbes magazine in 2008. The centre features 220 retail, entertainment and dining outlets.

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