11 Indian, Bangladeshi workers die in Najran house fire

Emir orders probe

The fire spread in the three-room house which had no windows, the Civil Defense said.

By Irfan Mohammed

Saudi Gazette

Jeddah — Eleven migrant laborers died of asphyxiation in Najran early on Wednesday in a fire that engulfed the windowless house they shared, authorities said.

“Firefighters put out the blaze in an old house lacking windows for ventilation. Eleven people died of asphyxiation, and six others were injured,” Najran Civil Defense spokesman Capt. Abdullah Al-Farie said.

“We received information regarding the fire through a security patrol around 4 A.M. and rushed to the spot,” he said.

The casualties all hailed from India and Bangladesh.

The workers were in deep sleep when the incident occurred which was reported by a police patrol to the Civil Defense that rushed to the spot.

Among the six injured workers five are said to be in critical condition, according to sources.

Prince Jalawi Bin Abdulaziz, Emir of Najran, has ordered probe into the fire mishap and constituted an official team comprising the Civil Defense, Najran Municipality, Ministry of Labor and Social Development that will work under governorate supervision, according to an official statement.

The Emir met Brig. Ghazi Al-Ghamdi, director of Civil Defense, to enquire about the mishap.

The workers, who belonged to a construction company, were living near a gold market area in Faisaliah district.

The fire broke out due to short circuit in an old air-conditioning unit, according to primary information.

Among the six injured workers, four were from India.

After receiving the information, Indian Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh dispatched an official team to assist the victims.

Nine million foreigners work in the Kingdom, many of them from South Asia, according to the last official figures released in 2015.

Among the 9 dead Indians identified so far, 4 are from Uttar Pradesh, 3 from Kerela, and 1 each from Tamil Nadu and Bihar.