A major fire broke out in the basement car parking area of the under-construction Sidra Medical and Research Center yesterday morning. No casualties were reported.
However, there were reports of some workers at the site developing breathing problems, presumably because they had inhaled the smoke.
The fire that started around 10.30am was brought under control in about four hours, according to Civil Defence personnel engaged in the operations. The extent of the damage was yet to be assessed.
Eyewitnesses said more than 15 fire-fighting units of the Civil Defence department and several water tankers were rushed to the construction site, which is located near Slope Roundabout in Al Gharafa. Several ambulances from the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) were also deployed .
The police regulated traffic along the route to facilitate the movement of fire engines and water tankers.
The Civil Defence personnel evacuated scores of construction workers from the affected area and moved them to safety. Work at the site was also stopped. Residents of the area said they could see black smoke coming from the site for a long time.
No reason was attributed to the fire until late in the evening.
In a statement, the Sidra authorities said all personnel engaged in the work were shifted from the under-construction complex as a precaution after the blaze was noticed and the fire was brought under control. “We will keep the community informed about the cause of the fire, which is pending an investigation,” said the communique, which added that Sidra was being built to the highest standards of safety, in accordance with the American Institute of Architects’ code of practice for hospitals.
“Sidra is part of Qatar Foundation, which is recognised as having an extremely high competency in health and safety, both in building design and in rigorous implementation of testing and standards,” it said, adding that staff working at Sidra would be fully trained in health and safety procedures and how to operate in an emergency situation.
Minor blaze in Villaggio Mall apparel shop
A minor fire broke out at an apparel store in Villaggio Mall yesterday afternoon, leading to the evacuation of shopkeepers and visitors at the upmarket shopping centre.
Sources told Gulf Times that the affected shop is situated on the side of a corridor. One portion of the corridor houses a major hypermarket. Following the fire, there were reports that one of the entrances to the mall was closed for a while.
The fire started due to problems in one of the airconditioning units at the clothing shop, preliminary inquiries found. It was put out by fire-fighters on their arrival.
Ambulances also reached the spot even though there were no reports of any injuries.
On hearing about the fire, many residents gathered outside the sprawling parking area of the mall, which had last May suffered a blaze that killed 19, including 13 children.
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