5 detained in probe of deadly Qatar mall fire

Story highlights

  • The mall's owner and the owner of the nursery are among those detained
  • 19 people died in the Monday blaze at the Villaggio shopping mall in Doha
  • 13 of the dead were children in the mall's nursery

Five people, including the daughter of the Qatari culture minister, were ordered detained as authorities investigate a fire that killed 19 people at a Doha, Qatar, shopping mall, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

Thirteen of those who died in the Monday blaze were children in a nursery at the upscale Villaggio shopping mall.

Those detained at the order of the attorney general include the owner of the mall; the owner of the nursery; the mall's director and deputy director; and the mall's assistant director, the news agency reported Tuesday.

The nursery's owner is the daughter of Minister of Culture Iman Al Qawwari.

The mall's security director and the official in charge of issuing licenses were among those summoned by the attorney general, QNA reported.

Committee to examine Qatar mall fire
Committee to examine Qatar mall fire


    Committee to examine Qatar mall fire


Committee to examine Qatar mall fire 01:57
Deadly fire sweeps through Qatar mall
Deadly fire sweeps through Qatar mall


    Deadly fire sweeps through Qatar mall


Deadly fire sweeps through Qatar mall 01:53

The government has set up a committee to investigate "the causes and circumstances" of the blaze, QNA said Monday night. It is also investigating complaints that sprinklers and alarms weren't working at the mall when the blaze broke out.

Mall fire: "Accident waiting to happen?"

Christine Wigton, an American living in Doha, told CNN she heard "a buzzer, not very loud" as she walked into the mall, but heard no loud alarms as smoke built up inside. Elementary school-age children were eating at some of the restaurants and no one was trying to escape, she said.

"There were no sprinklers, and there was nothing that would tell somebody that something was wrong," she said.

Built in 2006, the mall advertises itself as "the newest and the largest entertainment center in Doha." The Venice-themed complex features gondola rides down an indoor canal, an artificial sky, a 13-screen movie theater, a theme park, skating rink and a bowling alley.

Qatar's Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani, said earlier the civil defense office reviews safety standards for commercial buildings before they grant a license.

"The investigation will clarify all the circumstances of the incident and find out the shortcomings and question those who are responsible in order to tackle the matter in the future," he said in remarks carried by QNA.

Several of the dead were from Qatar's expatriate community.

The mall's website on Wednesday showed a picture of a black ribbon.

"We offer our deepest condolences to all the families of the victims and martyrs on duty who lost their lives in the fire," the site says. "May the departed souls rest in peace and may almighty Allah give fortitude to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss."

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.