Governor orders safety measures following Grand Mosque fire

A view of the fire that gutted wooden scaffolds at the construction site of the Haram expansion project in Makkah. (SPA)

A view of the fire that gutted wooden scaffolds at the construction site of the Haram expansion project in Makkah. (SPA)

Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah has urged the Civil Defense, as well as the contracting company responsible for the Grand Mosque expansion project, to adopt safety measures to prevent any possible fire during ongoing construction works after a fire gutted wooden scaffoldings on the northern side of the Grand Mosque on Wednesday, injuring three workers.

“No criminal motives have been reported in the incident,” said Lt. Col. Saleh Al-Olayani, Civil Defense spokesman in Makkah, while disclosing the results of preliminary investigations. “We have set up a committee to ascertain the cause of the fire,” he said.

Al-Olayani said 16 firefighting teams took part in the effort to contain the blaze in a record time. “The fire erupted in a construction site north of the Grand Mosque,” he said, adding that the site was not open to visitors.

“The fire engulfed construction material and wooden scaffoldings spanning 20 sqm.”

The firefighters quickly doused the blaze and prevented it from spreading.

Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Amr, director-general of the Civil Defense, personally followed up on the case.

Brig. Sami Al-Jedaani, Civil Defense director in Makkah, said his forces are ready to confront fire accidents in the Grand Mosque. “We carried out a mock firefighting operation at the mosque two months ago and this was instrumental in helping our officers quell Wednesday’s fire quickly,” he said.

The Ministry of Health’s emergency crisis management was put on high alert following the fire. Dr. Hattam Bhoja, head of the emergency crisis management in Makkah, said the injured were taken to King Faisal Hospital and Al-Noor Specialist Hospital for treatment.

“No pilgrims were injured in the fire,” one source said. Eleven people, who sustained minor injuries, were given first-aid on the spot.


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