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Fire breaks out at mall under construction in Qatar

Published 03/04/2016

Firefighters are said to be tackling the blaze
Firefighters are said to be tackling the blaze

A fire has broken out at an 825 million dollar (£577 million) mall under construction near a stadium where Qatar plans to host some of the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

Qatar's interior ministry said firefighters were battling a blaze at a mall under construction near the Al-Rayan Sports Club on the western outskirts of Doha, the country's capital.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The site is the location of building work on the Mall of Qatar, a massive shopping centre which has been under construction since 2012 and was scheduled to open later this year.

Video on social media showed a thick black cloud of smoke rising over the mall.

Neither the mall management nor UrbaCon Trading & Contracting, the construction company involved, immediately answered requests for comment.

The mall is planned to cover some 5.4 million square feet, and will be connected to the Doha Metro. The nearby Ahmed bin Ali Stadium could be renovated to host World Cup matches.

A previous fire at a shopping mall was the deadliest disaster to strike Qatar in recent memory.

The 2012 blaze at the high-end Villaggio shopping mall in Doha killed 19 people, many of them foreigners.

The victims included 13 children. Most of those killed were at a daycare centre inside the shopping mall, which opened in 2006 and houses an ice skating rink and Venice-style gondolas.

Investigators blamed faulty wiring for sparking the blaze, but cited a number of factors that contributed to its spread and the deaths.

Five people were sentenced to prison in 2013 in connection with the fire, but an appeals court judge overturned those convictions last October.

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From Belfast Telegraph