May 29, 2012
Posted: 1206 GMT
Tragic images out of the Qatari capital Doha as families mourn the deaths of 19 people in a fire at an upscale mall, including 13 children. It seems the fire began in the Gympanzee nursery and fire fighters had to break through the roof to get it.
The dead include four teachers, two would-be rescue workers, and thirteen children from multiple nationalities including 2-year-old triplets from New Zealand.
The Qatari government has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident. A Civil Defense official said at a press conference yesterday that the roof and staircase of the nursery had collapsed, forcing rescue workers to create an opening in the roof to take out the victims.
Eyewitness Christine Wigton told CNN "There were no sprinklers, and there was nothing that would tell somebody that something was wrong."
Qatari authorities insist that all buildings adhere to strict codes per civil defense.
Disturbingly, a Qatar expat forum flagged exactly this issue as far back as February 2009 in a post titled "Fire Hazard at Villagio", with photographs claiming to show padlocked fire exits at the Villagio Mall itself.
CNN cannot confirm the accuracy of these photos or the information claimed:
An eerie comment posted over three years ago rings ominous on this tragic day...
A gathering is planned today at 5pm Doha time at nearby Aspire Park to commemorate the victims.
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