Cairo: Eight Palestinians from two families living in Saudi Arabia died after a fire erupted in a residential building in the port city of Jeddah, relatives said.
The eight died of suffocation caused by smoke from the blaze that had trapped them inside an apartment where they had gathered.
Islam Dahlan lost his wife and a daughter in the accident. “They died from suffocation in the fire that started in an apartment on the second floor of the building,” he said. “They tried to get out of the building, but were held back by the fire and clouds of smoke. They were forced to return to our apartment where they were trapped. They could not go up to the roof because one of the inhabitants had closed its door,” he said. Dahlan said he had left his family with another family of a friend that had come to visit them.
Preparing to celebrate Eid
“Seven minutes later, my wife called me to say a fire broke out in the building. In minutes, I lost my family while we were preparing to celebrate Eid Al Fitr,” he added.
The six other fatalities were members of the second family, including a wife and her five children.
Preliminary investigations indicated the fire was triggered by children who were playing.
Palestinian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Bassem Abdullah visited the two bereaved families and offered condolences on behalf of Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas.