A Qatar shopping-mall fire that killed 19 people last month was caused by faulty electrical wiring in a Nike store, the committee charged with investigating the blaze said in a release posted on the website of state-run Qatar News Agency.
There was a “lack of adherence to laws, systems and measures by all concerned parties” and the Villaggio mall, Qatar’s biggest, had no early warning systems, according to the release. The committee said safety deficiencies extend beyond the mall to other buildings that are “not adhering to the laws and measures regarding safety and fire-fighting.”
The May 28 blaze killed 13 children and four teachers who were trapped in a child-care facility near the Nike store. Two firefighters also died. The victims, who came from countries including New Zealand, Spain, Japan, South Africa and the Philippines, had to be pulled from a hole knocked in the roof of the mall. The first wasn’t reached until two hours after the fire started, according to the release.
The child-care facility, called Gympanzee, wasn’t a licensed nursery and didn’t abide by the “necessary safety conditions,” according to the release.
The fire has raised questions about public safety in the Persian Gulf emirate, the world’s richest country per capita, with a population that has more than doubled in the past decade.
Qatar’s public prosecutor ordered the detention of five people, including the mall’s owner, manager and the owner of the child care center, Qatar News Agency said May 29.
The six-year-old Villaggio mall is designed to resemble an Italian village, complete with canals and gondolas, as well as an amusement park, ice rink and cinema. The daycare facility was located in the middle of the mall, accessed through two narrow and winding hallways and up a flight of stairs.
The committee has issued 11 recommendations to prevent or reduce risk of similar incidents, according to the release.
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