H.E. the Minister of State for Interior Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani extended his heartfelt condolence to the families of the martyrs who died during a fire breakout at Villagio mall on Monday, 28/5/2012 morning. 19 persons were died in the accident, in which 13 were children, 4 were women and other two were civil defense personnel.
The condolence was extended in a joint press conference held by H.E. the Minister of State for Interior Affairs and HE the Minister of Public Health Abdullah bin Khalid Al Qahtani today evening at National Command Centre in Doha.
Director of operations at the General Directorate of Civil Defense Brig. Hamad Othman Al Duhaimi and officer of search and rescue team of Internal Security Force Capt. Khamees Al Muraikhi also were present in the press conference.
Speaking in the press meet, H.E. the Minister of State for Interior Affairs stated that the operations room of the Ministry of
Interior received a call informing the fire breakout at Villagio mall at 11.3 am today and the Rescue police (Al Fazaa) reached at the fire site within one minute, while the civil defense team rushed to the site and reached there after two minutes. At 11.34 am, the concerned agency in the Ministry received another call about trapping of about 20 children in a nursery inside the mall, where the fire was broken out and immediately the civil defense team started evacuation process, focusing on the rescue of the children as much as possible with the support of Search and Rescue Team of Internal Security Force, pointed out H.E the Minister.
Due to the dense smoke and high temperature inside the mall, the firefighters faced difficulty in accessing to the nursery. Hence, a courageous alternative rescue plan was taken by civil defense team. Then fire fighters accessed the place of children through the ceiling of the mall and rescue personnel spent great and painstaking efforts in order to save the children and staffers trapped in the nursery, as a result, two men from the Civil Defense were martyred while they were carrying out their noble mission.
HE Minister of State for Internal Affairs also stressed that the relevant security agencies in Qatar are always ready to sacrifice for the protection of homeland and the lives and properties of the people who live on its land. He also praised the distinguished role and the great efforts exerted by civil defense, search and rescue team and other support agencies for evacuating the Mall and save the visitors and the victims.
The Minister of State for Internal Affairs in response to reporters' questions emphasized that the concerned agencies have carried out search operations many times at the Mall in order to confirm that there is no one trapped inside and the Ministry didn’t receive any call about missing of any body later after the incident.
The Minister pointed out that the concerned authorities represented by Public Prosecution have started investigation. The investigation will identify the causes of the fire and will reveal circumstances led to the incidents and any shortcomings.
He further declared that a high-level committee will be formed to follow and review safety requirements in buildings and stressed that there is no exception at expense of people’s lives.
On his part, the Minister of Health H.E Abullah Khalid Al-Qahtani praised the great efforts spent by search and rescue team, ambulance services and other support services in rescuing the injured persons and handled the situation very professionally.
He added that the death toll is 19 including 13 children, 4 women and 2 rescue workers from Civil Defence who became martyrs while performing their duty.
A good number of local and international media persons attended the press conference. H.E the Minister of State for Interior Affairs stressed on the keenness of the Ministry in strengthening bonds of cooperation with the media to enlighten the public opinion with facts and proper information.