The father of a South African boy carries his son’s body during a funeral procession in Doha yesterday. Thirteen expatriate children were among those killed in Monday’s fire at the Villaggio Mall, including two-year-old triplets from New Zealand. Image Credit: Reuters

Manama: Qataris united in sorrow and prayed for the 19 people who died in the blaze at Doha's Villagio Mall on Monday, the country's worst tragedy in recent memory.

Investigators are going through a fire-ravaged daycare centre and other charred areas in the mall to understand how the tragedy killed 13 children, four teachers and two firefighters.

Funeral prayers were held for the Palestinian and Moroccan firefighters, a South African child and teacher.

Qatar's Interior Minister and the Moroccan ambassador were among those participating in prayers at the Abu Hamour cemetery.

Hundreds paid their respects to the two young firefighters who died attempting to rescue children and women trapped inside the nursery in the mall. Mahmood Haidar, a 27-year-old Palestinian and Houssam Chahboun, a 22-year-old Moroccan, were among the firefighters who entered the daycare centre while the fire was raging.

Others who couldn't make it to the prayer meeting sent condolences on social networking sites like Twitter. Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal tweeted: "A hug for the family and friends of victims in Doha fire. I want to give my support to the Qatari family, they're good friends."

In two separate incidents yesterday, two small fires broke out at an aviation college and a girls' school in Doha. However, they were dismissed as being unrelated to the Villagio blaze.

Child casualties

Three of the casualties in the Villagio tragedy were triplets from New Zealand, who were in the childcare centre on the first floor of the complex. Three brothers from Spain, ages two to seven, whose father is an executive in the Spanish construction company OHL, were also killed.

The triplets — Lillie, Jackson and Willshe — turned two last month. Their parents are "numbed by loss" after learning the news. Their father Martin Weekes moved to Qatar in 2007 and is a senior adviser at Qatar's government agency q.media. His wife Jane Weekes holds a monthly group gathering for multiple birth mothers. Her listing on the Doha Mums website says: "Having multiples is a fun filled, yet often overwhelming experience ... "