Doha mall fire kills 13 children

Doha mall fire kills 13 children

MOSCOW - The Associated Press
Doha mall fire kills 13 children

Relatives of children stuck inside Doha’s Villaggio Mall are overcome with emotion as they wait for news, after a fire broke out inside shopping mall in the Gulf emirate. AFP photo

Qatar’s Interior Ministry says 13 children were among 19 people killed in a fire that broke out in one of the country’s fanciest shopping malls, raising questions about building safety in the booming Gulf state, the Associated Press reported.

At least some of the victims died as rescuers struggled to reach a child care center at the Villaggio mall in the capital Doha late on May 28, according to Qatar’s Minister of State for Interior Affairs, Sheik Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani.

Dense smoke inside the mall combined with the fierce temperature from the flames made reaching the trapped children very difficult, a civil defense representative told a news conference, Agence France-Presse reported.

 Health Minister Khaled al-Qahtani said all fatalities were caused by asphyxiation, adding that 17 people were injured, mostly firefighters. Four of the children killed were Spanish citizens living in the small Arab emirate, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said. It did not identify the children, citing Spanish privacy regulations.

Also, a 3-year-old French child was among the victims, the deputy minister for overseas French citizens, Yamina Benguigui, said in a statement.

Two-year-old New Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, were among the victims, according to New Zealand media reports.

Four teachers and two civil defense officials were among the dead, the Qatari ministry said on its official Twitter page.