Probe launched as EP wedding blaze kills 24


Published — Wednesday 31 October 2012

Last update 3 November 2012 6:26 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Saudi authorities launched an investigation yesterday into a fire tragedy at a wedding party in Abqaiq that left at least 24 people dead and 37 injured.

Prince Muhammad bin Fahd, governor of the Eastern Province, ordered the investigation. He visited grieving relatives at Hijrah Jadeedah, 30 km from Abqaiq, an energy industrial center.
The deadly blaze occurred late Tuesday when a live electrical cable fell on a metal door. The metal door served as the only entrance and exit to an open courtyard. The cable also set ablaze a women-only marquee. Gathered in the courtyard in a tent area were women and children to celebrate the wedding, according to Maj. Gen. Abdullah Alkoshiman, director of Civil Defense in the Eastern Province.
The cable electrified the door, and some wedding guests were electrocuted when they touched it as they attempted to flee the fire, said Alkoshiman.
He said celebratory gunfire knocked the cable down. Discharging firearms at weddings was outlawed last month, although shooting firearms is common at weddings in tribal areas.
The Civil Defense official said 33 injured wedding guests were treated and released from Aramco Hospital in Dhahran. Four remain hospitalized.
“Most of the victims were women, though men and children also reportedly died,” said Alkoshiman.
The courtyard yesterday remained as it was Tuesday night with plastic chairs overturned, debris strewn across carpets and a lone wheelchair standing amid the rubble. A pole supporting strings of light bulbs remained standing. Outside the walls was a scorched vehicle parked. The metal door, through which guests attempted to flee, remained open.
One Eastern Province official said the tent area in the courtyard lacked any safety measures or multiple exits. Civil Defense officials have warned private wedding party hosts and wedding hall managers to ensure their facilities have enough exits to avoid panic and overcrowding in the event of an emergency.
While visiting the injured and the relatives of victims, Prince Muhammad conveyed to them the condolences of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah; Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense; and Interior Minister Prince Ahmad.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A number of parents have complained about the lack of hygiene in schools, expressing fears about the potential spread of the MERS virus with the beginning of the new academic year. This comes in the backdrop of another death due to the deadly...
JEDDAH: Disputes over sharing of property or inheriting family business are common. But Dhahran has witnessed an unusual fight among four brothers — over donating kidney to their youngest brother.Coincidentally, all the brothers were found fit to don...
JEDDAH: A number of visually impaired citizens are expecting candidates to address their problems and make life easier for them after winning the Dec. 12 municipal elections.A section of these voters have also sought special programs so that they can...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Interior recently launched a series of training programs to upgrade the efficiency of its female staff as a new step to empower women and give them an opportunity to shine in security-related fields.Maha Frehi, the manager of...
RIYADH: Sixty-one Filipinos, who met with a vehicular accident on the day of Arafat on Nov. 5, 2011, hope to come to the Kingdom as the guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.Most of them could not complete the Haj rituals because of...
JEDDAH: At the start of each academic year, parents face a common and expected problem — their children are afraid of going to school.After spending five years in the arms of their mothers and siblings, children know leaving home means entering a new...

Stay Connected