Gas tank explosion near Landmark Mall kills 11 people (updated)

gasstation

Nadim Ziade/Twitter

With reporting from Peter Kovessy and Ankita Menon

A gas tank explosion atop the roof of a popular restaurant near Landmark Mall this morning has killed at least 12 11 people. According to QNA, at least 31 people were also injured – though HMC released figures late Thursday night saying 35 people were injured. Here’s what happened:

UPDATE | 7:34pm

Live updates have now ended. Latest details about the investigation and ongoing efforts to identify the deceased can be found here.

Thank you to all those who contributed what they saw and heard about today’s tragedy. We extend our condolences to all of those affected.

UPDATE | 3:13pm

In an official translation of the press conference, it was disclosed that four people died at the accident site, and the other eight passed away on the way to the hospital or at Hamad.

They also said gas tanks are required by law to be inspected annually, and it was unclear what caused this one to explode. The tank belonged to gas distributor Woqod.

UPDATE | 2:57pm

According to MOI, the force of the blast is what caused the most damage.

There was also a small fire, but that was contained quickly:

“The fire was not important, and we could overcome it easily, but the explosion was so huge and caused the damage,” one official said. He also clarified that a tank – and not a cylinder – of gas exploded.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani has promised a full and transparent investigation.

UPDATE | 2:45pm

In response to a journalist query, officials said most of the dead were Asian and Arab. At least one Qatari was killed. A government official now says no Qataris were killed.

The cause of the gas tank explosion, which occurred at 10:12am, is under investigation.

UPDATE | 2:40pm

Accident

Video still/Qatar TV

UPDATE | 2:37pm

The press conference has begun.

The death toll has now risen to 12 people, with 31 injured. According to the Director of Civil Defense, the gas cylinder explosion caused the partial collapse of a building, injuring and killing customers, restaurant-goers and passers-by.

UPDATE | 2:13pm

A press conference held by the Ministry of Interior to discuss today’s events is expected to begin soon.

Meanwhile, dozens of residents have headed to HMC to donate blood in the wake of this morning’s tragedy. For more on how to donate, and where to go, see here.

UPDATE | 1:23pm

According to QTV, the death toll has risen to nine people, and 32 people were injured. Meanwhile, Hamad Medical Corp. has put out a call for blood donations to keep stocks up:

UPDATE | 1:19pm

Along with condolences, residents have been expressing anger and concern about safety in Qatar following this latest incident. Some referenced the gas station blast that occurred last fall:

UPDATE | 1:04pm

Condolences are pouring in on Twitter for the victims of today’s explosion:

UPDATE | 12:26pm

Ambulances and stretchers are now lining up at the scene. Men in white hard hats are also arriving, presumably to assess structural integrity of the buildings on the site.

Meanwhile, MOI is tweeting that cooling of the site is taking place:

UPDATE | 12:11pm

An HMC staffer told Doha News that several people are in critical condition at the hospital, including women and children.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is on site to oversee the investigation.

Police are also widening the perimeter of the accident, with a big section of the Landmark parking lot being cordoned off. On Twitter, MOI is saying all roads in the area will be temporarily closed for safety reasons:

At least a dozen ambulances remain on the scene.

UPDATE | 11:52am

An Al Fazaa officer on the scene has told Doha News that there were “lots killed” in today’s accident. Qatar TV is reporting that there are at least four deaths so far, and has broadcast several bodies covered in blue blankets being led away on stretchers.

QTV

Video still

Onsite, it looks like the damaged vehicles are being towed away. Ambulances are still arriving, but more slowly, without their lights on.

UPDATE | 11:39am

Several businesses are taking precautions following the accident. Speaking to Doha News, a receptionist at Steady Steps Nursery near Landmark Mall said children have been sent home for the day.

In another development, a nearby residential compound lost electricity shortly after the blast:

UPDATE | 11:35am

On Twitter, MOI is also asking people to disperse from the scene so that it can do its job more easily.

Meanwhile, more photos continue to come in on social media, including this one:

Accident

QatarShares.com

UPDATE | 11:29am

MOI is also asking residents to take alternate routes so that responders can attend to the scene.

At the scene, Doha News has observed that buildings next to the Turkish restaurant have been affected by the blast, as windows were blown out at the entire Fiore Rosso complex.

UPDATE | 11:20am

The Ministry of Interior has weighed in on Twitter, saying:

Meanwhile, photos of the accident scene have been circulating on social media, and suggest that many people were seriously injured. In one video, a small child who appears to unconscious is tended to by emergency responders.

Emergency responders are on the scene, and residents on Twitter are reporting seeing injured people.

Police are evacuating everyone near the scene, one witness said. A staffer at Hamad Medical Corp. told Doha News that emergency responders are getting ready to receive the injured at the hospital.

The gas station is located just off of the Doha Expressway:

Map

Residents may want to watch out for traffic and gawker delays on the roads in the surrounding area.

A Twitter resident has pointed out the “explosion” appears to have happened far away from the petrol tanks:

It’s possible that one of the gas tanks inside a restaurant burst, causing the fire, which then spread to other shops, witnesses have said.

Does anyone know more?

Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the most recently released figures puts the number of fatalities at 11.

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