UK & World News
Doha Fire Deaths: Arrest Order For Mall Owner
Arrest orders have been issued for the owner of a shopping mall in Qatar and four others after fire swept through the complex killing 19 people, including 13 children.
The official Qatar News Agency said the Attorney General had also ordered the arrest of the owner of the Gympanzee nursery where the children and four workers died.
The others facing detention are officials at the Villaggio complex in Doha, a popular haunt for Qayar's tens of thousands of expatriate residents, including the director of security.
Sprinkler systems at the mall malfunctioned, bringing calls for sweeping safety and licensing reviews.
The young victims at the day nursery included two year-old triplets from New Zealand, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, and four Spanish youngsters, three of them siblings.
In a statement, the triplets' parents, Martin and Jane Weekes, mourned the "sunshine in our world."
"Lillie, Jackson and Willsher came into this world together and were inseparable as siblings, best friends and the joy of our life," the couple said.
"Tragically they left together after only two short years. A time that was lived to the full everyday with us laughing, playing, waking us at all hours of the night and simply being the sunshine in our world."
On Tuesday more than 2,000 people attended the funerals of three Muslims killed in the blaze - a South African boy, a South African paediatric nurse and an Iranian firefighter.
Later in the evening, nearly 1,000 people attended a memorial mass in a church south of Doha for the four Spanish children among the dead.
Two neon lights placed above the altar displayed their names - Almudena, Alfonso, Camilo and Isabel.
"We are going home but I don't know when," said Camilo Travosedo, father of the three siblings, fighting back the tears.
An American girl of Arab origin, a Chinese boy, a Canadian girl and two Egyptian children, one of whom also had French citizenship, also died in the blaze.
Two firefighters, a Moroccan and an Iranian were killed, along with three women from the Philippines who worked at the nursery.
Qatari officials said the blaze started at or near the daycare centre and firefighters had to break through the roof to get to the 20 children who were trapped after a staircase to the first-floor facility collapsed.
Thick black smoke was seen billowing from the building at the height of the fire, which broke out at about 11am local time on Monday.
Some 17 people, including two children, were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. Many of those in the shopping centre when the alarm was raised were helped out through the roof.
The Italian-themed Villaggio, one of the biggest malls in Qatar, opened in 2006 and has 220 stores as well as a funfair and ice-skating rink. It has been closed indefinitely following the blaze.
New construction projects such as the Villaggio have transformed Doha in recent years, as the country has benefitted from huge gas and oil reserves.
The shopping centre is close to one of the venues for the 2022 World Cup.