Three of the four Spanish children killed in a fire Monday at a daycare center in a mall in Doha were the children of an executive of Spanish construction company OHL who works in Qatar, company spokesmen told Efe.
The children ranged in age from 2 to 7 and died along with a 7-year-old girl from another Spanish family.
Relatives of the girl live in Doha because the father, who is an engineer, is working there on big development projects, the mayor of Campo de Criptana, in the province of Ciudad Real, in central Spain, Santiago Lucas Torres, told Efe.
The father of the three youngsters who died is the personnel chief at the hospital that OHL is building in Doha, the company spokesman said.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry only confirmed that the four children had died but provided no further details regarding their identities because relatives had asked for “maximum discretion,” ministry spokesmen told Efe.
In addition to the four Spanish children, another 15 people died in the fire, including nine children, four teachers and two firefighters, the Qatari Interior Ministry said.
The fire broke out at 11:00 a.m. (0800 GMT) at the Villagio Mall, one of Doha’s most modern shopping centers, producing a huge amount of thick smoke. Firefighters required three hours to bring the blaze under control and an equal amount of time to clear the smoke from the mall.
The parents of the children had left them at the daycare center, given that there was no school on Monday in Doha.
Spanish Embassy personnel in Doha have made themselves available to help the relatives of the victims.
The Spanish community in Qatar is made up of a little more than 500 people, of whom a good portion are businessmen or employees for multinational companies.