5/28/2012

Blaze at Qatar shopping centre kills 19

BBCNEWS

A fire at a shopping centre in the Qatari capital Doha has killed at least 19 people, local officials have said.

The interior ministry said 13 of the victims at the Villaggio centre were children. Four were Spanish nationals, diplomatic sources say.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
The Villaggio mall, which opened in 2006, is one of the most popular shopping and recreational complexes in the small Gulf state.
Its facilities include a cinema, a hotel and a Venice-styled theme park.
The blaze started at about 11:30 local time (08:00 GMT) on Monday, Qatari Interior Minister Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
It is believed to have started at a nursery, and firefighters reportedly had to break through the roof to get to trapped children.

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Eyewitnesses spoke of thick black smoke billowing from the centre.
Police were sent to the scene to evacuate the complex, while medics were treating the injured.
"There don't seem to have been any fire alarms or sprinklers at the mall," a relative of one of the victims told Reuters.
The fire was later extinguished, Mr Thani said.
Four teachers and two civil defence officials were among the victims, the interior ministry said.
Reports say that the evacuation was very chaotic and there is some criticism of the way the incident was handled by the emergency services.