Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Eleven killed as fire rips through Syria shopping mall

Eleven killed as fire rips through Syria shopping mall

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A fire ripped through La Mirada Mall in the Syrian capital Damascus early on Tuesday killing at least 11 people. AFP

Eleven killed as fire rips through Syria shopping mall

A fire in a shopping centre in the Syrian capital Damascus killed at least 11 people early on March 1, the interior ministry said, in one of the deadliest blazes of recent years.

Many of those killed were security guards or other staff on duty overnight in the six-storey building, civil defence director Ahmad Abbas said.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.

“Eleven people have died as a result of the fire in the La Mirada mall, and two people have been rescued,” the interior ministry said.

The fire caused “extensive material damage”, it added, ripping through stores that sold clothes, leather goods and cosmetics – many of which were highly flammable.

“Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the blaze,” the ministry statement said.

Fires in the Syrian capital are relatively frequent, some caused by electrical short-circuits, others by unsafe heating.

A 52-year-old witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name Hani, said the fire broke out at around 3am (0100 GMT).

“The fire started on the top floor and started to spread quickly to other levels,” he said.

Damascus police chief Hussein Jumaa said the cause of the blaze was likely “internal”.

“The fire spread so fast that the people in the building couldn’t save themselves,” Jumaa told state television.

Twenty fire engines helped douse the blaze, civil defence chief Abbas said.

“It took around four hours for us to bring the fire under control,” he said, adding that the victims died either of suffocation or of severe burns.

“They were all guards working at the mall, or workers on duty,” Abbas added.

Ten of the 11 corpses recovered from the building were charred beyond recognition, the state SANA news agency reported.

It said seven people were wounded, including those who suffered smoke inhalation.

An AFP correspondent saw fire trucks stationed outside the charred facade of the shopping mall, where dozens of businesses had been destroyed.

“We have asked everyone to stay away from the area to facilitate civil defence operations,” a fire department official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Despite the security cordon, dozens flocked to the scene, including business owners eager to check on their shops.

One store owner collapsed when he saw the scale of the damage.

“My livelihood is gone . . . my money is gone,” he wailed.

The fire comes a week after a blaze in a hospital in Syria’s second city of Aleppo killed three people, sparked by an electrical short-circuit, according to SANA.

In September last year, a firefighter died and two civilians were injured in a blaze that destroyed a fabric warehouse in the Old City of Damascus.


  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Bosba: The first Khmer woman composer from UK’s Cambridge

    Bosba Panh is just 25 years old, but she’s already accomplished some impressive milestones for herself and the Kingdom. On July 24, she graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge as the first Khmer woman composer and Khmer music graduate ever at

  • ‘Golden’ Angkor Wat likely due to natural phenomenon: ANA

    Pictures and video clips of the Angkor Wat temple, its spires seemingly coated in gold, have been shared tens of thousands of times on social media, prompting a sense of wonder among those who have seen them. Hong Sam Ath, who took the pictures and

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Koh Slaket studio resort brings culture with style

    Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals. The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway