Fire expert blames Villaggio blaze on lamp holderby CW Staff on Jan 27, 2013
A fire expert from Qatar's Interior Ministry has told a criminal court that the Villaggio Mall fire in Doha in May last year started at a sports shoe outlet on the ground floor after the aluminium holder of a fluorescent lamp melted and came in contact with sports footwear stocked there, reports The Peninsula.
The expert, from the Interior Ministry's forensic laboratory, said the fire then spread to 30 nearby shops in the mall.
A copper lamp holder should have been used instead, he argued, suggesting that both the fluorescent lamp and its holder were of sub-standard quality.
“Most fires in Qatar take place because of the use of sub-standard electrical appliances which, despite their hazardous nature, are available aplenty in the local market,” stated the expert.
The insulating material on electrical wires was of low quality and not suitable to Qatar’s weather conditions, he told the court.
A defence lawyer disputed his claim and said since he was a chemist by training he did not have the expertise to discuss the cause of the fire. “We had a fire expert who investigated the Villaggio blaze,” the expert responded.
The tragedy occurred on 28 May 2012, with 13 children from the Gympanzee nursery among 19 people killed in the blaze that broke out at the upmarket shopping mall.
The Villaggio opened in 2006 and is one of Qatar's most popular shopping and amusement destinations, featuring an ice skating rink and indoor Venice-style gondola rides.
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