A small fire on an upper level of an under-construction building in Lusail quickly spread this afternoon as firefighters worked to contain the latest large blaze in Qatar this week.
One witness told Doha News that he heard a sound akin to an explosion shortly before 1pm. Security guards said what started as a small fire quickly grew as the wind fanned the flames.
No one was injured in the fire, the cause of which is under investigation, according to a statement from Lusail Real Estate Development Co.
Because of Qatar’s midday summer work ban, all the construction crews left the site at 11am and there was no one present at the time of the fire, according to Khaled Al Sayed, the CEO of Qatari Diar Group, which is leading the Lusail development project.
“The fire started on the upper floors. As of now, we don’t know the reason,” Al Sayed told Doha News as he monitored the firefighting efforts. “Right now, we’re just trying to stem the fire and not let it spread to the basement and become a bigger fire.”
Another bystander said pieces of black ash could be seen in the air around the Qatari Diar office in Lusail.
A second, smaller fire broke out near that building around 1:30pm but security guards put it out in less than five minutes with fire extinguishers, the witness said.
The city of Lusail itself largely remains one giant construction site as developers construct homes, offices, recreational amenities and a light-rail line for the new urban area that’s envisioned to eventually have a population of 450,000 residents once it’s complete.
Two hours after the fire started, flames could still be seen near the roof of the building as firefighters used a ladder truck to battle the blaze.
Meanwhile, the scene of Monday’s large fire in the old Msheireb area of Doha remained taped off today as several men appeared to start the process of salvaging items and cleaning up.
— Michael J Walker (@mikeymikedoha) June 30, 2015
Fires appear to occur more frequently during Qatar’s hotter summer months, something that’s typically blamed on high levels of electricity consumption caused by residents running air conditioners for extended periods of time.
However, construction sites also appear susceptible. For example, the old Civil Defence complex caught fire twice in a span of slightly less than three weeks last year as it was being converted to an arts hub.
The first fire initially started as a worker was using a torch to apply asphalt to the building’s roof.