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Hotel in Makkah evacuated after fire

18 September, 2015

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MAKKAH: About 1,000 Asian Haj pilgrims were evacuated early on Thursday from their hotel in the holy city of Makkah, hit by a fire that injured two people, the civil defence agency said.

Fire-fighters “rescued two pilgrims who were hurt” by the fire in an eighth-floor room of the unnamed hotel, the agency said. More than one million pilgrims have already arrived in Makkah for this year’s Haj, which begins Tuesday. The agency also did not give the nationality of the pilgrims, nor say what caused the blaze.

Saudi Civil Defence teams evacuated the pilgrims from an eight-floor hotel in Al Azizyiah neighbourhood of Makkah, after a fire broke out in a room, in the early hours of Wednesday. Media spokesman for the civil defence forces in Haj, Colonel Abdullah Al Orabi Al Harthy was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency as saying that Makkah civil defence operations received a report at 12.30am about the incident and teams were immediately despatched to the incident site.

He further said that civil defence teams evacuated the hotel and saved two pilgrims who were injured in the incident. Colonel Al Harthy pointed out that it was coordinated with the Ministry of Haj to accommodate the pilgrims and provide them with suitable housing. The agency also did not give the nationality of the pilgrims, nor say what caused the blaze. More than one million faithful have already arrived in Makkah for this year’s Haj, which begins on Tuesday. The Haj is the world’s biggest annual event. At least 107 people, including some from Asia, died Friday when a construction crane collapsed on Makkah’s Grand Mosque. Saudi Arabia has announced to pay 300,000 riyals each to families of the people who were killed in the crane accident.

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