RIYADH: Six Filipinos were killed in a fire that struck an apartment in Riyadh early Saturday, the Philippine Embassy said.
In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, the embassy identified the victims as Sahara Mapandi, 46; Rema Mapandi, 8; Ryan Mapandi, 7; couple Dodio Guiamat and Karen Anne Guiamat, and their 1-year-and-3-month-old baby Aneeka Guiamat.
Karen Anne, a nurse at Riyadh Military Hospital, was said to be four months pregnant.
A seventh victim, also a Filipino nurse who is a tenant in the apartment, was the only survivor.
Many expatriates in the kingdom share apartments with relatives, friends or co-workers.
Taugan Mapandi was quoted in the report as saying he left for work at 6 a.m. on Saturday while his wife Sahara and their two children were sound asleep at their apartment on Sulaimania district.
An hour later, he got a call from the apartment haris (caretaker) informing him of the fire. By the time he arrived home, the victims were already taken to nearby hospitals by Civil Defense rescuers.
Except for the lone survivor, Mapandi never saw any of the victims alive. They were declared dead of suffocation.
A Filipino community member in Riyadh who had gathered information about the incident said the fire started on the sala of the apartment, which was on the ground floor of a building.
He said the lone survivor managed to get out of the smoke-filled apartment by covering her head with a wet towel and crawling through the floor.
“Had the apartment unit been on the upper floors, I doubt if the nurse was able to survive,” the source told Arab News by phone.