Triplets Age 2 Killed at Fire in Gympanzee Child Care Center in Villagio Mall in Doha, Qatar


Qatar’s Interior Ministry said 13 children were among 19 people killed in a fire that broke out in one of the country’s fanciest shopping malls late Monday morning, raising questions about building safety in the booming Gulf state.

Firefighters responded about 11:00 a.m. local time Monday, May 28, 2012 to a fire that broke out in the Gympanzee nursery school inside the Villagio Mall.

Triplets from New Zealand named Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were among the 13 children and six adults killed in the Villagio Shopping Mall in Qatar. Their parents, Jane and Martin Weekes, previously lived in Wellington.

Philippine Ambassador to Qatar Crescente Relacion identified three Filipino fatalities as Maribel Orosco, Margie Yecyec and Julie Ann Soco, who were adult teachers at the Villagio Mall’s Gympanzee Nursery School. All of them died of asphyxiation.

The names of the other children, and the other adults were not available. Two of the adults that were killed were firefighters.

Factors compounding the emergency included lack of available floor plans for emergency response personnel, thick smoke and heat, and malfunctioning sprinkler systems.

Video by Muhammad-Isa Moslih.

Doha is the largest city in Qatar with a population of almost 1 million people. Qatar has the world’s highest per capita GDP with proven reserves of oil and natural gas, tops the list of the World’s richest countries by Forbes, and has the fastest growing economy in the world.

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