Doha mall's fire hose was broken, court told

Last updated 11:53 21/12/2012

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A broken fire hose contributed to the Doha mall fire that claimed the lives of 19 people this year, including two-year old Wellington triplets, a court has heard.

A trial to find the people responsible for the Villagio mall fire is under way, yesterday hearing witnesses who claimed faulty sprinklers were a factor.

Earlier this year a Qatar Government-led investigation found the fire was caused by a faulty electrical wiring in a fluorescent light in a Nike store, which was next door to the day care centre where triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were based.

Fire safety authorities have now said they approached mall management to let them know the hose was broken and needed a new one, according to Qatar news site The Peninsula.

Civil Defence officials said they told the mall to make sure the high-pressure hose attached to the plumbing system was working on May 26, 27 and 28.

The officials elaborated on the use of highly-flammable paint, which was used throughout the mall on decorations.

Chemicals in the paint, combined with smouldering Nike clothes where the fire originated, caused the thick smoke that killed 19 people.

According to The Peninsula, one Civil Defence witness told the hearing "we had been warning the mall's management against using inflammable material since 2007, but our warnings were ignored."

Civil Defence officers said firefighters were not properly trained to handle the fire.

So far, the hearing has been postponed four times before all defendants turned up to court, and the witness testimony will start up again early in the new year.

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- The Dominion Post

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