Makkah: Investigations have begun into a fire that struck the Hajer Hotel building in Makkah on Sunday with civil defence investigators taking samples from the scene for analysis, and taking statements from witnesses.

The fire struck one of the towers of the hotel, which is still under construction. It took 400 firefighters eight hours to put out the fire.

According to eyewitness reports, the blaze erupted shortly after midnight, and spread rapidly because of wood used for construction stored in the premises. Soon, the entire building was engulfed in smoke.

The surrounding areas were evacuated, and onlookers were kept at a safe distance, as firefighting teams entered the building to extinguish the fire and prevent it spreading to other floors. Hospitals were put on high alert, but no injuries were reported.

32nd floor

According to a report in Okaz Arabic daily, a civil defence spokesman said the fire started on the 32nd floor of Hajer Tower facing the Grand Mosque.