I was listening to a piece about the Doha mall fire on the way home last night, about how this was a very new and expensive mall and that Qatar has very comprehensive safety standards so there would need to be a thorough investigation into how this happened.
Investigation's hardly necessary - anyone who's spent a few years as an ex-pat in a Gulf Arab country could tell you exactly how this happened without needing even to read a report on it.
First, those comprehensive safety standards. I expect this is absolutely true and that Qatar's building and safety regulations are thorough and detailed. I expect they're also "enforced" by low-ranking civil servants who piss off important Qatari property developers only at their great peril. Everything will have been signed off by the appropriate personnel, but anything that met the standards probably did so by accident.
If it's anything like Kuwait's malls, this one will have been built on the cheap using indentured labour from the Indian subcontinent. One witness mentioned the mall staff didn't take the fire alarm seriously, presuming it was yet another false alarm. That was to be expected - given the nature of its construction, we can assume none of its more complex systems would have worked properly from the day it was built, including the sprinkler system.
The media has unconfirmed reports that two senior managers of the mall have been arrested. If so, we can identify these as the two with the least wasta (influence), and my money's on them not being locals.
February 13 in history
4 hours ago