13 Kids Among 19 Dead in Qatar Mall Blaze

New Zealand triplets, two firefighters die
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2012 2:00 AM CDT
13 Kids Among 19 Dead in Qatar Mall Blaze
Grieving family members stand outside Doha's Villaggio mall.   (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

Thirteen children and four teachers were among at least 19 people killed when a fire broke out in a shopping mall in the Qatari capital of Doha yesterday. The victims were trapped inside a nursery in the upscale mall, where the fire is believed to have started, reports the BBC. Firefighters had to break through a roof in an attempt to reach the trapped children after a staircase collapsed, and two of them died in the rescue effort.

The seven girls and six boys who died included four Spanish children, a 3-year-old French child, and 2-year-old triplets from New Zealand. Some sprinklers and fire alarms failed to work, and some floor plans turned out to be incorrect, hindering rescue efforts, said officials. Survivors describe the evacuation of the mall as chaotic, and say fire alarms were barely audible. Qatar's interior ministry says an investigation is under way, Reuters reports. (More Qatar stories.)

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