Large sections of plaster from Landmark Mall’s ceiling collapsed last night, injuring some shoppers.
The incident took place in a particularly busy part of the mall, near the entrance to the food court and children’s play area, and outside of Argo Tea Cafe and Starbucks Cafe.
Ahmed Hassna, security manager, told Doha News that two people were injured – a woman was hit on the shoulder by some of the plaster and a baby was hit on the hand. They were taken by ambulance to Hamad Hospital but discharged within hours, he added.
Speaking to Doha News, Emma Louise Kennedy, who was at the mall at the time of the accident, said:
“When I was walking out (of the mall) the fire alarm started. I started to run out but no one even moved. Everyone seemed to make their way to where the accident was.”
Her sister, Anna Kennedy, said she was walking out of the food court when she heard a loud crash:
“People began to run over and I started to see children crying so I ran over. There was a lot of debris on the floor and people were watching over from Opera cafe. I don’t believe anyone was hurt, not that I had seen. I think people had just got a fright. The security were great, they got everyone away from the area and were quick in doing so. Then the alarms went off and everyone was ushered out of the mall.”
She added that an entire ceiling panel had fallen down, from Haagen Dazs to Argo Cafe.
The mall was operating normally this morning. Parts of the affected area were closed off, but the floor was clean of any debris.
Several security guards were on the scene, preventing visitors from taking photos.
According to one guard, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning would be visiting the mall today to inspect the decorative plaster and the false ceiling that collapsed.
Hassna said the plaster was about 14 years old.
This is the second time Landmark has seen such an accident in recent years.
In April 2013, the ceiling at the Haagen Dazs ice cream shop in Landmark Mall caved in. In part because the incident happened early on a weekday morning, no one was injured.
No official statement was made about what happened, but the shop was closed for several months for renovations before reopening.
Photos of last night’s incident, which Anna Kennedy said took place around 8:45pm, quickly went viral online.
The collapse has apparently sparked renewed questions about mall safety in Qatar.
What's really wrong with Malls in Qatar ? #SafeyInAir
— michu10 (@michu10) January 14, 2015
Landmark has the same ownership as Villaggio Mall, where a deadly fire killed 19 people, including 13 children, in May 2012.
On Twitter, the Ministry of Interior said that Civil Defense was acting to ensure safety after last night’s accident:
Civil Defence acts on safety measures after collapse of a section of plaster from ceiling at Landmark mall. #MoI_Qatar
— Ministry of Interior (@MOI_QatarEn) January 14, 2015