The cause of the vast majority of fires in Qatar have gone undetermined for at least the past three years, according to new figures released by the Qatar Statistics Authority.
Of the 1,026 incidents of fire reported last year, the cause of 906 of them remain unknown, the Annual Statistical Abstract concerning Judicial and Security Services 2011 states. Seven people were killed in fire-related incidents in both 2011 and 2010.
In 2010, investigations into 734 of the 819 reported fires also yielded no answers. And in 2009, 636 of the 848 fire incidents were ruled cause unknown.
The figures represent a worrying trend in Qatar, where fire safety has taken on new importance since a blaze at Villaggio mall left 19 people dead nearly six months ago.
Namely, if the causes of fires cannot be determined, how can they be prevented?
The cause of most fires, as was the case with Villaggio, is electrical short-circuits, with residences and vehicles more vulnerable to fires than offices, the report states.
And most fires happened during the hot summer months, with 124 cases reported in May last year and well over 100 in June and July. In 2010, May also logged the most fires, at 97.
QSA latest report isn’t available online yet, but here is last year’s:
Credit: Photo by Omar Chatriwala
Have the relevant authorities completed their analysis, and can share the outcomes with the public ?
Is this because of a lack of investigation or because investigations are not getting results?
How does this compare with other places? Is it typical for the causes of most fires to remain unknown simply because the cause isn’t worth investigating (i.e. no real damage or safety implications and no one hurt)? Or are these serious fires with damage and injury?