Article from the National
This 3 page article is probably the most in-depth one I've read yet.
Rescuers lost vital time as floor plans, once found, proved inaccurate and access routes - long, narrow corridors - woefully inadequate. Sprinklers malfunctioned and failed to go off. And although they arrived on the scene within eight minutes of being alerted to the fire, the emergency services were apparently unaware that there was a nursery at the centre of the mall, or of the tragedy that was unfolding within.
Trapped on the first floor when the solitary staircase gave way, the doors blocked by heat and smoke, the adults and children who perished there never stood a chance.
It is testament to the courage of the firefighters - two of whom lost their lives as teams broke through the roof and pulled children to safety - that anyone trapped in Gympanzee escaped with their lives.
The firefighters who died were Mahmoud Haider, 22, believed to be Palestinian, and Hossam Chahboune, 27, from Morocco. Mr Chahboune carried two victims to safety before running back inside and being overcome by thick smoke. All 19 victims died from smoke asphyxiation.
Tarek Bazley, a former journalist from New Zealand, was in the mall with his 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son when the fire started. He said yesterday: "At about 11 o'clock the fire alarm went off. It wasn't a very alarming bell. It sounded more like a repeated doorbell and was kind of annoying. I asked a guard who was attending the soft play area if it was something we should be worried about. He said, 'No, no. It happens all the time. Carry on as you were'."
It was only when a member of the public ran through the mall about 20 minutes later, shouting that the place was on fire, that Mr Bazley and other shoppers began to leave the building. He was shocked by what he saw when he did, "We left the building to see huge plumes of smoke coming from the top of the mall.
"We were fortunate enough to have a fire exit near to where we were standing. A colleague of mine who also happened to be in the mall with his wife and children said that the first fire exit they came to was padlocked shut and chained."
Questions and Answers
- Sample Budget and Cost of Living
- Qatar Schools Database
- Residents Guide to Qatar
- Siteseeing in Qatar
- Traffic Rules
- Attending a Qatari Wedding
- Gift ideas from Qatar
- Buying a used car in Qatar
- Renting in Qatar
- What to consider when renting in Qatar
- Preparing for Winter in Qatar
- Registering a birth in Qatar
- Blackberry phones in Qatar
- Old Qatar
- What's Happening in Qatar
- Online Shopping in Qatar
- What does Doha look like?