Qatar mall set to reopen after fatal fire

By Hana Garrett-Walker

L-R: Lillie, Jackson, Willsher Weekes. The triplets died in a fire at the Villagio shopping Mall in Doha Qatar. Photo / Supplied
L-R: Lillie, Jackson, Willsher Weekes. The triplets died in a fire at the Villagio shopping Mall in Doha Qatar. Photo / Supplied

The Qatar mall where New Zealand triplets were killed in a deadly blaze is set to reopen today, reports say.

Civil defence has reportedly given the Villaggio mall the all-clear to reopen its doors this week, and in an email to mall employees earlier this week staff were asked to prepare for a Thursday opening, Doha News reported.

Today is not the official relaunch of the mall, but Gondolonia, the food court and the cinema would open for business.

Nineteen people died in the blaze on May 28, including 13 children.

New Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, who were two at the time of the fire, were killed while they attended the mall's nursery, Gympanzee.

Shortly after the fire Qatar police held four Villaggio mall management officials and Iman Al Kuwari, the Qatari owner of Gympanzee, for questioning.

Villaggio has been closed since the fire.

Earlier this month the court case to determine who was responsible for the fire was postponed because two of three parties charged did not turn up to court.

Representatives of the Villaggio Mall attended the hearing, but no one from the Municipality and Gympanzee were there, prompting the hearing to be postponed until next month.

An initial report, completed in June, found negligence by many parties led to the blaze.

The Wellington parents of the triplets, Martin and Jane Weekes, last month called for a boycott of the Villaggio shopping complex until their concerns were dealt with.

They joined the parents of the other children killed - from eight different countries - in sending an open letter to the Doha News newspaper.

"To the editor, It is outrageous, hurtful and indefensible that the owners of Villaggio Mall would celebrate the reopening of the place where our 13 children died, especially given that we have not heard a thing about the investigation, have not been apprised of any meaningful reforms in the wake of the tragedy, nor received an offers of a just financial settlement."

- APNZ

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