Kuwait fire tragedy: ‘Gas cylinders, cardboard, paper..,’ initial probe reveals presence of highly flammable materials

Initial probes into Kuwait fire tragedy reveal oversights in safety measures leading to loss of 49 lives. Gas cylinders, flammable materials, and locked doors hindered workers' escape. Rapid spread of fire attributed to combustible materials used as partitions in congested living spaces.

Livemint
First Published14 Jun 2024, 09:15 AM IST
Kuwait: MoS for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh meets Indians injured in a fire incident at the Jaber hospital, in Kuwait, Thursday, June 13, 2024. A fire engulfed a multi-storey building in Kuwait on Wednesday, killing 49 foreign workers, including around 40 Indians, and injured 50 others, according to officials. (PTI Photo)(PTI06_13_2024_000135A)
Kuwait: MoS for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh meets Indians injured in a fire incident at the Jaber hospital, in Kuwait, Thursday, June 13, 2024. A fire engulfed a multi-storey building in Kuwait on Wednesday, killing 49 foreign workers, including around 40 Indians, and injured 50 others, according to officials. (PTI Photo)(PTI06_13_2024_000135A)(PTI)

Initial probes into the Kuwait fire tragedy, which claimed the lives of 45 Indians, reveal significant oversights.

As reported by Indian Express citing sources, approximately two dozen gas cylinders stored on the ground level of the seven-story structure, the use of highly flammable materials such as paper, cardboard, and plastic as makeshift partitions in the congested living spaces for workers, and locked doors preventing access to the rooftop, impeding workers' ability to flee.

As Indian embassy officials engaged with survivors, Kuwaiti investigators commenced their examination into the tragic fire incident, which resulted in the loss of 49 lives, occurring early Wednesday in an apartment building near Kuwait City.

Also Read: Kuwait Building Fire: Minister KV Singh meets 6 Indians injured in firing incident – ‘All of them safe'

Kuwaiti authorities have already conducted DNA tests on the bodies as part of the identification process.

Sources told Indian Express that a probable short-circuit on the ground floor, exacerbated by approximately two dozen stored gas cylinders and the presence of a kitchen, appears to have initiated the fire. The rapid spread of the fire was facilitated by the abundant combustible materials such as cardboard, paper, and plastic, which were used to divide the densely populated rooms within the building.

Additionally, buildings in the area have been adapted internally to create more space, potentially violating Kuwait's building codes and impeding firefighting efforts.

Kuwaiti Fire Force said the deadly fire was caused by an “electrical circuit”. In a press statement, it said the conclusion was arrived at after an examination of the scene of the incident, Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported.

Also Read: Kuwait fire news: India sends military transport aircraft to bring back mortal remains of Indians | All we know so far

PTI reported that the fire in Al-Mangaf building was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4.30 am on Wednesday, and most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation, Kuwaiti media reported, adding the fire started in a kitchen.

Construction firm NBTC group rented the building for the stay of more than 195 workers, most of them Indians from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and northern states, the Kuwaiti media said.

Interior Minister Al-Sabah ordered an investigation into the fire incident and issued directions to apprehend the owner and janitor of the Al-Mangaf building.

Also Read: Kuwait Building fire: Who is KG Abraham, Keralite owner of the building engulfed in blaze that claimed 49 lives?

Prime Minister Modi reviewed the situation at a meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and Principal Secretary to PM PK Mishra, among others.

Following the meeting, the prime minister announced ex-gratia relief of 2 lakh to the families of the deceased Indian nationals from the PM Relief Fund and directed that the government should extend all possible assistance.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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First Published:14 Jun 2024, 09:15 AM IST
HomeNewsWorldKuwait fire tragedy: ‘Gas cylinders, cardboard, paper..,’ initial probe reveals presence of highly flammable materials

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