Fire at under-construction Qatar shopping complex

A photo of the blaze posted to social media.
A photo of the blaze posted to social media.PHOTO: TWITTER

DOHA (AFP) - A fire broke out Saturday at a Doha shopping complex under construction near one of the stadiums that will host matches during the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s interior ministry said.

Hours after the blaze started at the complex near Rayyan Sports Club, the ministry tweeted that civil defence authorities have “completely” contained the fire and that there were no injuries.

Local media said the fire broke out at the construction site of the Mall of Qatar, which will be the Gulf country’s largest shopping centre when it opens later this year.

Pictures circulated on social media showing plumes of black smoke billowing from the construction site in a western suburb of Doha.

A Facebook statement by the contractor working on the complex confirmed that the fire broke out at 2.30pm (7.30pm Singapore time).

“No casualties have been reported, and over 14,000 labourers and staff were safely evacuated from the premises,” said Mowafaq Kharbat, project director of Urbacon Trading and Contracting.

“An investigation is being conducted and details will be provided once the investigation is complete,” he added.

Qatar is engaged in multi-billion-dollar work on projects directly or indirectly linked to the football World Cup.

The Mall of Qatar is a 500,000-sq-m retail and entertainment complex near the 40,000-seater Al-Rayyan stadium, which is undergoing renovation for the World Cup.