A week after his death, friends and compatriots of Tarik Alghoubachi continue to mourn his passing.
The 36-year-old Moroccan firefighter died after attempting to fight a warehouse blaze near the Industrial Area on the evening of Friday, Feb. 6.
He and a colleague had responded after a fire broke out at a building that apparently stored diapers, medical supplies and other goods, a fellow firefighter told Doha News.
Alghoubachi, a seasoned firefighter who had worked for Civil Defense since 2006, was tasked with finding anyone trapped in the warehouse, according to Morocco’s deputy ambassador in Qatar, Abdul Razzaq Dinar.
There were no individuals inside the building, but Dinar said Alghoubachi was so involved in trying to find people that he didn’t pause to refill his oxygen tank.
He was taken to Hamad Hospital and died early Saturday morning, Feb. 7, of asphyxia-related complications.
According to his colleague who asked not to be named, Alghoubachi could not get out of the warehouse because he was trapped by burning debris.
His death has hit many friends hard. One described him as a good man, “one of the kindest people I have ever met, (who) always had a smile on his face (and) gave 100 percent on the job.”
Alghoubachi was unmarried and hails from Fez, where his body was repatriated on Tuesday.
According to Dinar, the Qatar government and Ministry of Interior shouldered the expenses of flying the body home, with a high-ranking envoy from the MOI going along to pay condolences in person to the family.
Meanwhile, local media reports state that a wealthy Qatari man has donated some QR500,000 to Alghoubachi’s family, as a tribute to his courage and sacrifice.
Dinar said that some 230 Moroccan expats currently work as firefighters for Civil Defense in Qatar. This is in part because of a 2006 agreement between the two countries that has facilitated the large number of Moroccan men on the local force.
This is not the first time a Moroccan firefighter has died while on duty in Qatar. Hossam Chahboune, 22, along with Iranian colleague Mahmoud Haidar, were killed in the 2012 Villaggio Mall fire.
Seventeen others, including 13 children, also died of smoke inhalation in that fire after being trapped in an upstairs daycare at the mall.
That blaze was apparently caused by a short circuit, but what prompted this most recent fire to be started remains under investigation.