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Villaggio fire

At approximately 11:00 AM on May 28, 2012, a major fire broke out in the Villaggio Mall, triggering an alarm described by an eyewitness as being "a very benign fire alarm, almost like a door bell". At first, many were not worried as a false alarm had recently been blown.

As the fire engulfed the Gympanzee nursery, the entrances to the nursery were blocked by smoke, trapping 13 children and 4 members of the staff inside. Firefighters from the Qatari Civil Defense force were forced to break a hole into the rooftop of the mall to attempt a rescue. Along with the 17 trapped in the nursery, 2 firefighters were killed. The victims included children from Spain, New Zealand, France, Japan, South Africa and The Philippines; along with three Filipino teachers and one teacher from South Africa.

There were also 17 injured people as a result of smoke inhalation, most of them were members of the Qatari Civil Defense force. A total of 19 people lost their lives - 13 children; three of them were triplets from New Zealand. The investigation committee revealed an electrical fault at the Nike store as the cause of the deadly fire. It also found that all parties concerned had lacked adherence, to various degrees, to related laws, systems and safety measures.

The father of the killed triplets later said proper post-mortems weren’t carried out on his children. He blamed a closed emergency exit at the mall’s daycare centre for the children’s deaths. The presence of "highly flammable paint and illegal flammable mouldings" at the mall raises the question of responsibility. .

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