'Electric fault' sparked Qatar mall fire

2012-06-13 21:02

Doha - An electrical fault caused a shopping mall blaze last month that killed 19 people, most of them children, at an unlicensed Doha nursery, state news agency QNA quoted investigators on Wednesday as saying.

The fire began in a sporting goods store in Villagio Mall, next to the Gympanzee nursery, where 13 children died.

It was "due to a faulty electrical wiring in a fluorescent light," the statement said, explaining that the plastic components of the lighting fixture caught fire which rapidly spread as smoke spread to the adjacent nursery.

"The fire was not premeditated," the statement said.

A first attempt by a store employee and a security guard at the mall to extinguish the fire failed and the nursery caught on fire, QNA reported.

Civil defence workers arrived at the scene three minutes after being alerted to the fire, but only discovered half an hour later that there were children trapped in the nursery.


An investigating committee 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."

The statement said the nursery was not licensed by the ministry of social affairs and did not meet the necessary safety conditions.

There was also a "lack of response" among the mall's security staff as well the staff in the store where the fire started.

The committee found that there are no effective plans at Villagio to "prevent, contain or at least reduce the effects of such an incident," QNA said.
It issued 11 recommendations to prevent or reduce risk of similar incidents in the future.

Among them would be a review of regulations governing the activities of baby care facilities, which allows nurseries to register under different names, such as activity centres.

All 19 people killed in the inferno at the mall on May 28 were foreigners, including the two fire fighters, 13 children and four teachers.

A South African teacher and 18-month boy were among the dead.