13 workers killed in Bahrain blaze horror
Manama, January 12, 2013
Thirteen workers were yesterday burnt to death in a fire that raged through a three-storey building used as a bachelor's camp in Manama, Bahrain's capital.
The victims of the blaze, in the Mukharqa neighbourhood, are yet to be identified, an Interior Ministry official was quoted as saying by a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister newspaper.
The bodies have been transferred to the Salmaniya Medical Complex mortuary while the injured are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
The Civil Defence acting director-general said fire brigades rushed to the Mukharqa neighbourhood after the blaze was reported at 3.44pm and reached the site at 3.50pm.
Several tenants were rescued from the burning building and the blaze was brought under control before it spread to nearby buildings.
A fireman was injured when the roof of the building collapsed during the blaze, the GDN report said.
"We are still awaiting identification of the bodies which were recovered by Civil Defence personnel from the debris," the acting director-general said.
Capital Governorate Chief Prosecutor Fahd Al Buainain last night visited the site and ordered a probe into the blaze.
Sources told the GDN that the unlicensed building had 26 rooms occupied mostly by "free visa" workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
"The majority were Bangladeshis and seven to 10 people lived in each room."
Officials said three Pakistanis suffered burns and were transfered to SMC.
"Mohammed Akram, 40, suffered burns to his hands and left leg, Saeed Ahmed, 38, suffered second-degree burns to his face, legs and hands, and Mohammed Aslam suffered minor burns to his hands and legs."
Thick smoke reached the sky and was visible from a distance.
"Initially we thought it was a minor fire but after sometime we saw thick smoke coming out of the building and neighbours panicked," said an eye-witness.
"Some called the Civil Defence and several fire brigades and ambulances arrived at the scene.
"They entered the building although there was a lot of smoke and flames were rising from the structure.
"It spread so fast that the whole building went down in minutes," he said.
"Police cordoned off the area. Firemen brought the bodies out one by one and I saw 13 bodies. They were still working at the site at 10pm when we left," he added.
Sources said the roof of the building collapsed in the fire and the structure could be razed because it is not safe.
The Pakistan Embassy last night called on the community to help identify the victims.
This is the second deadliest fire involving labour camps in Bahrain. A fire in a Gudaibiya labour camp killed 16 workers in 2006. Another blaze in East Riffa killed 10 last year. - TradeArabia News Service
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