Kuwaiti authorities detain 2 for fire, say blaze was caused by short circuit | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Kuwaiti authorities detain 2 for fire, say blaze was caused by short circuit

Jun 14, 2024 08:59 AM IST

The building where the fire occurred had been rented by NBTC group, an engineering and construction firm partially owned by an Indian national, to house 196 workers

The devastating blaze in Kuwait that killed 49 people, mostly Indian workers, has been described as the worst building fire in the country’s history, triggering a crackdown by the local authorities on housing violations.

The blaze was the second largest fire disaster in Kuwait in terms of the death toll. (HT Print photo)
The blaze was the second largest fire disaster in Kuwait in terms of the death toll. (HT Print photo)

Forty-five Indians were among those who died on Wednesday when the fire engulfed a seven-storey building at Mangaf in southern Kuwait that housed foreign workers. Kuwait’s health minister Ahmad Al-Awadhi said 56 injured people were taken to local hospitals.

The incident was the worst building fire in Kuwait’s history, and it gave rise to calls for action against landlords and company owners who “violate the law to house large numbers of foreign laborers in extremely unsafe conditions to cut costs”, the Kuwait Times newspaper reported.

The blaze was the second largest fire disaster in Kuwait in terms of the death toll. In August 2009, a woman angry over her husband getting married for the second time, had set a wedding tent on fire, killing 56 women and children.

Also Read: Kuwait fire: 45 Indians, 3 Filipinos identified among dead, authorities to promptly investigate incident

Kuwait’s Fire Force announced after a field examination that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit, state-run KUNA news agency reported. Kuwait’s public prosecutor ordered the remanding of a Kuwaiti national and an expatriate on charges of “erroneous killing” in connection with the fire.

The two persons, who weren’t identified, are being held on several charges, including “killing and injury by error due to negligence of security and safety precautions against fires”, the public prosecutor’s office said on X.

A special team examined the scene of the fire and visited hospitals to question the injured.

Kuwait’s first deputy prime minister and interior minister, Sheikh Fahad Yousef Saud Al-Sabah, who is personally leading the campaign to check buildings housing foreign workers, said authorities began inspecting apartment blocks from Thursday and will crack down on all violations without warning.

Al-Sabah said Kuwait’s Public Authority of Manpower will examine the issue of overcrowding of expatriate workers in buildings and the failure to comply with safety conditions. The owner of the building where the fire occurred will be kept in custody till the investigation is completed, he said.

The building where the fire occurred had been rented by NBTC group, an engineering and construction firm partially owned by an Indian national, to house 196 workers, most of them Indians from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and northern states. Most of the dead and injured were from Kerala.

The fire erupted just after 4 am, when most of the residents of the building were asleep. It resulted in thick clouds of smoke that suffocated most of the victims, Kuwait Times reported, quoting officials from interior ministry and fire department.

The head of investigations at Kuwait’s fire department, Col Sayed Al-Mousawi, said a team probing the fire found an inflammable material was used as partitions between apartments and between rooms, and this caused the thick black smoke. Many victims suffocated while trying to run down stairwells filled with smoke, and people couldn’t go to the rooftop because the door was locked, he said.

Mousawi said the work of fire fighters was hindered by many violations inside and outside the building. An Egyptian national told reporters from his hospital bed it took him two hours to get out of the burning building with the help of fire fighters, and that he had seen several charred bodies.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Stay updated with the latest India News on Budget 2024 Live, including Income Tax Live Updates coverage, Stock market Live reactions, and key highlights. Follow our live updates to get real-time insights and detailed analysis of Budget 2024.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On