Accessibility links

Breaking News

At least 49 dead in Kuwait residential building fire

Rescuers arrive at the site of a residential building fire in Kuwait, June 12, 2024. (Kuwait TV via AP)
Rescuers arrive at the site of a residential building fire in Kuwait, June 12, 2024. (Kuwait TV via AP)

At least 49 people died Wednesday in an early morning fire that swept through a building housing workers in Kuwait. Officials say code violations are the likely cause. The fire was in Kuwait’s Mangaf district, which is heavily populated with foreign workers.

A survivor of the fire, a driver from Egypt, said the blaze started on lower floors of the building and moved higher until smoke filled the structure. Police said many residents were rescued but many died from smoke inhalation.

More than 30 Indian citizens were treated at hospitals, according to the Indian ambassador. Local officials said the nationalities of other victims were being determined.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones,” in a post on social media platform X.

Kuwait relies heavily on foreign workers in several industries, including construction.

The country is also home to the world’s sixth-largest oil reserves. A previous fire swept through an oil refinery there in 2022, killing four people.

After visiting the site of the latest building fire, Kuwait’s interior minister, Sheikh Fahad Yousef Al-Sabah, said, “The greed of real estate owners is what leads to these matters.”

The interior minister demanded the arrest of the building’s owner and said he would address the issue of labor overcrowding. A senior police commander said police always warn against packing too many people into housing developments.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.