MALE, Nov 11 (PTI): Police in the Maldives have asked the public to share information about the missing migrants living in a building here where a major fire broke out, killing at least 10 people, including 7 Indians.
The fire broke out in a car repair garage in M Nirufehi, located near the Maaveyo Mosque, around 12:30 am local time on Thursday.
The garage is located on the ground floor, while the first floor of the building housed migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.
Police said they were working on identifying the victims and the injured.
“Share information regarding the migrants living in Male’ who haven’t been heard from since Wednesday night by contacting the Serious and Organized Crime Department at 9911099 and police hotline 3322111,” the police said.
According to authorities, the migrant quarters had housed at least 38 people. A total of 28 people were evacuated from the building, while nine people were initially reported missing, the Sunonline newspaper reported.
Seven of them were found dead, while two were taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) with severe burns. One of them died at the hospital, while the second, identified as a Bangladeshi national, is in critical condition, it said.
Firefighters later recovered two more bodies from the building, raising the death toll 10.
Speaking to the media, Colonel Ibrahim Rasheed, Commandant, of MNDF Fire and Rescue Service said the dead bodies recovered from the scene were severely burnt, making it difficult to identify them or even determine their sex.
The bodies have been taken to the Galolhu Mortuary.
Police have also urged the media to refrain from reporting unverified information and respect the feelings of the family members of those killed in a major fire that broke out in a garage here in the Maldivian capital.
“We urge not to disclose such information unless the relevant authorities publicise such information in order to respect the feelings of the family members of those deceased,” Maldives Police Service said.
In a statement released on Thursday night, Police said that efforts to identify the deceased are still ongoing.
Underscoring that some media outlets have disclosed the identities of the alleged deceased persons, police said that they have yet to confirm the identities of all the deceased.
Meanwhile, Haleemath Ibrahim, who lives in M Ajameepool neighbouring Nirufehi, said it was around 12:30 am local time when the fire broke out in the garage.
“I rushed outside. I was outside when I heard a large explosion. I saw the dead bodies getting carried out. They brought out another dead body when I went out [to the balcony] after Fajr prayer,” she recalled.
“She said a young child was trapped there. She was running around in fear, pleading to rescue the child,” the Sunonline newspaper quoted her as saying in another report. Migrant workers were telling the crowd that their friends were trapped there. But the crowd could not do much to help due to the high police security there, she said.
According to the owner of the garage, the residents included Bangladeshi and Indian expatriate workers.
Some foreigners living in the houses near the garage have now been taken to the football field in front of the traffic police building on Ameenee Magu, online newspaper The Edition.mv reported.
Officials say 10 people have died so far in the incident in Male city. All victims are foreigners working in the garage, the report said.