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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Four years on, those lost in Villaggio fire not forgotten


Photos of the Villaggio vigil in 2012

Four years ago today, a terrible fire claimed the lives of 19 people, including 13 children, four nursery employees and two firefighters at Villaggio Mall.

The day after, Qataris and expats from all walks of life flocked to Aspire Park to extend their condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and mourn as one community.

Today, things are different. Given the high turnover rate of residents here, many have forgotten (or never known about) the fire. The legal battle to hold someone responsible for the fire is largely over, and the mall is busier than ever.

But the tragedy lives on in the memory of some longtime residents:

Though many families are no longer publicly speaking about their loss as part of a settlement deal reached with the government, some said they will continue to fight for justice.

Others, including Jane and Martin Weekes, whose triplets died in the fire, said today they simply want to express gratitude for the support they’ve received all these years.

In a post on the Lillie, Jackson & Willsher Weekes memorial Facebook page, the couple quoted Sigmund Freud as saying, “…no matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else. And actually this is how it should be.”


For an in-depth understanding of the Villaggio fire and its aftermath, download our 57-page ebook here.

Last year, some family members of the victims wrote letters to their lost ones, sharing some of the complex emotions they’ve felt since the day their lives changed forever. Read them here.

In 2014, the families affected by the Villaggio fire spoke about how they continued struggling to cope two years after the fire. See their video interview here.

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