The tragic fire incident in the congested capital, Malé City earlier Thursday, has taken the lives of 10.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has assured that the required action will be taken in connection with the fire incident.
The president visited the site and spoke to press on Thursday, revealing that this is the biggest and most dangerous incident to have occurred in the capital in recent history. As such, he noted that many lives had been lost and applauded the tireless efforts of the fire and rescue teams.
President Solih stated that one of the biggest reasons such incidents occur, is the fact that the capital is one of the most congested cities. He noted that the first concern that needs to be addressed is the issue of congestion and the conditions in which people live in.
President Solih also stressed on the importance of improving the building code within construction projects undertaken in the capital.
The president went on to note that a meeting will take place regarding Thursday’s fire incident with the relevant authorities, following which necessary measures will be taken.
Minister of Defence and National Security Mariya Ahmed Didi and senior officials of the police institution also visited the site.
The fire broke out inside a garage on the ground floor of Nirufehi house in Maafannu ward near the Maaveyo Mosque in the congested capital, Malé City. The death toll of the incident sits at 10.
It didn’t take long for the fire to spread throughout the entire building, according to authorities.
The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) dispatched a fire and rescue team to the location immediately.
MNDF revealed that they received reports of the fire at around 12:30am on Thursday.
The fire was extinguished by 90 percent, by 03:56am and was completely doused at around 04:34am.
Two injured individuals were initially found inside the building after the fire was extinguished. They were rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
Eye witnesses report that the smoke from the blaze had spread across a vast region.
Residents of nearby buildings were evacuated due to the intensity of the blaze and some individuals were treated after being affected by the smoke. A team of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was also active at the scene, to provide assistance for those severely affected by the smoke.
Mostly expatriates were affected by the smoke. A lot of expatriates are to have been residing in the building where the fire broke out. The garage is located on the ground floor and the first floor of the building houses migrant workers. 12 expatriates were living in the garage.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined and authorities are yet to clarify the extent of the damages.
Eye witnesses are also to have seen three bodies carried out in body bags.
Police officers are still active in the building.
One of the two individuals taken to the hospital succumbed to injuries, with the other person being in critical condition.
Bodies found inside the residence have been taken to the mortuary, according to MPS.
14 individuals were rescued from the building.
MNDF revealed that the victims include those who have been burned beyond recognition.
MNDF’s Colonel Rasheed spoke to press regarding the incident, stating that this is the biggest such incident in history. He revealed that nationals from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka had been living in the building.
He went on to state that many gas cylinders were inside at the time, which led to challenges in extinguishing the fire. As such, a gas cylinder had been placed adjacent to each bed. However, an exact cause of the fire will only be determined following thorough investigations.
Fire fighters are also to have faced challenges due to the narrow stairway inside the building.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ali Shujau revealed that further investigations are currently underway and that the scene has now been processed and efforts are underway to identify the victims.
Shujau had also urged caution from the public, as scam links have been circulating alleging to provide details of the fire incident.
NDMA’s Chief, Hisaan revealed that efforts were underway to transfer the residents to the evacuation center in Maafannu Stadium. Jamaluddin School has also been arranged as back-up, with 28 expatriates having been taken to the evacuation center so far.
The employers of some of the expatriates have since taken over.
Hisaan revealed that the required psychosocial support is also being provided and that families will be transferred as the sight clearing process goes on.
The Director General of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Ibrahim Naeem has since revealed that efforts are underway to determine the content of dangerous chemicals present in the smoke spreading in the region.