Thousands evacuated after Doha Jadeed blaze
A huge fire broke out in the densely-populated Doha Jadeed area yesterday.
Thousands of residents were evacuated as firefighters tackled the blaze.
There were no casualties.
The fire started at an under-construction nine-storey building around 1.30pm when the construction workers were on their midday break. The blaze was brought under control after almost five hours as winds of up to 27km per hour fanned the flames.
Officials from the Civil Defence, Lakhwya (Internal Security Force) and traffic police and ambulances from the Hamad Medical Corporation were at the site.
Witnesses said the fire brigade had arrived at the scene within 15 minutes after being alerted.
When some of the burning worksite materials fell on nearby buildings and old houses, “the nightmare began”, according to a resident of the area.
“We were all eating lunch at 1.30pm and suddenly the smell of smoke filled the air and we ran out, only to see the top floor of the under-construction building go up in flames and high winds carrying burning construction material to the rooftops of nearby buildings,” he said.
The streets in the area were littered with burnt mattresses, charred cardboxes and anything and everything residents usually stash on their roofs for a ‘later use’.
At one time, eight rooftops of nearby buildings or houses were on fire. Some vehicles parked in the area were damaged.
On the western side of the under-construction building there are two newly-completed buildings, a seven- and an eight-storey residential tower, which have not been rented out yet.
The security forces cordoned off the area and traffic was diverted for hours. Tenants of nearby high-rises evacuated their buildings as the fire raged on. Hundreds gathered to watch the inferno.
At 3.09pm, the blaze looked as if it were doused but as the Civil Defence team was packing, it broke out again and spread like a wildfire instantaneously.
The fire-fighters swung into action once again and the blaze was finally put out around 6.15pm.
Residents joined with the Civil Defence personnel in fighting the fire by throwing bucket-full of water at the fire on their rooftops.
As only three sides of the building, which will have 200 apartments upon completion, were accessible to Civil Defence vehicles and those too being narrow sideways, fire-fighters had a hard time in effectively putting their equipment in place.
“Today, Doha Jadeed has been saved, thanks to the efforts of the security and civil agencies. People need to realise that littering their rooftops with garbage will add fuel to a raging fire,” said a shopkeeper adjacent to the fire-hit building. “Construction companies also need to have better safety practices,” he added.
Thousands of residents of the area shut off their power supply as a precaution.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Source : http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=228484&version=1&template_id=57&parent_id=56
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