One woman died and six houses were destroyed as a three storey chemical warehouse in the dense capital Male’ City exploded causing one of the biggest fire incidents to happen in Maldives for decades.
Fire was first reported at around 7:25 pm on Friday night at a three storey chemical warehouse at Thilafushi house, henveiru ward.
The fire spread and destroyed six more houses before it was brought under control some five hours later after midnight.
Aishath Shauna, 49, was found dead in her house. She was reportedly trapped inside one of the buildings that caught fire.
“The body was destroyed beyond recognition. It was difficult to locate her body amongst the dense smoke in the building,” head of fire and rescue services colonel Abdulla Ibrahim said.
Rescuers struggled to reach the fire through the narrow streets, full with parked vehicles. But the cars and motorcycles were soon removed with the help from the public and rescue services commenced.
Fires was still not put out when it started raining heavily shortly after midnight. Rain continued non-stop for around five hours, extinguishing the fire and flooding the streets of Male’.
Some 30 people suffered minor injuries and were admitted in the nearby ADK hospital. Around three or four houses were evacuated and people relocated to Kalafaanu School.
Media reports say that around 100 families were directly or indirectly affected by the fire. The National Disaster Management Center has advised anyone affected by the fire to seek help at Kalafaanu School.
Meanwhile, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih held an emergency cabinet meeting last night after visiting the fire affected area with his Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi.
The cabinet resolved to move warehouses that stores chemicals, explosive materials and other hazardous materials out of Male’.
The cabinet also concluded to release emergency funds to help evacuated families and people affected by the fire. Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer was tasked with organizing the money.