Fire-bomb attack in Bahrain; 70 evacuated
Manama, October 23, 2012
Seventy people, including children, had to be evacuated after two apartment buildings in Hamad Town, Bahrain, were pelted with Molotov cocktails.
They were forced to exit the eight-storey buildings through smoke-filled staircase at around 3 am yesterday in Al Louzi neighbourhood following the violent attack that reportedly targeted BDF officers.
Four cars were also gutted, of which three were parked in the area underneath the buildings and the other was reportedly singled out and attacked as it was in the parking lot opposite the facility.
"Several residents suffered from smoke inhalation," said an Interior Ministry official.
"The damage to the building was 60 per cent on the exterior wall and 20 per cent of interior damage.
"I am not sure as to the reason this building was attacked, it may be because BDF employees live in that area, but that is just a guess.”
"The civil defence arrived at the scene accompanied by special security forces to protect them (residents)."
One tenant described the "horrific" incident as women and children were escorted out of the burning buildings.
The Bahraini said he saw two shirtless masked men flee the scene immediately after the attack.
"I live in the apartment just above the building's parking area and I was woken up by the sound of an explosion," he said.
"When I looked out of my window I saw smoke and two men who were shirtless and masked running away into the open ground near the buildings.
"When I eventually came down I saw the police standing far away and they did not come to help us. We really needed their help because the elevators were not working as there was no power and there was no light in the stairways, which was already full of smoke.
"Children and women were falling down the stairs because there was no light and there was no way to see through the smoke. The ones that came out were gasping for air.
"The building is filled with BDF staff and that may be why they targeted it.”
Another resident claimed firemen responded to the blaze late.
"The Civil Defence came late and ran out of water when they were trying to put out a fire on one of the cars," said the Bahraini, who wished to be known only as Khalil.
"It took an hour for the next fire engine to arrive and the building was still on fire the whole time while we were waiting for the truck to arrive.”
"They (firemen) didn't even use the extinguishers that are on every floor, but the residents did."
A Civil Defence source denied the claims, adding "They (fire engines) reached the scene in a few minutes and started dousing the fire."
"It is not true that we didn't have enough water to put out the fire or that the second fire engine was delayed.”
"We always have additional water in the engines so we don't have to wait or go back to fill the tanks."
However, one resident praised firemen for rescuing several people from the building.
"A lot of people didn't wake up as the alarms in the building are very sensitive and often go off if someone is having a cigarette, but eventually the Civil Defence broke down doors to wake people up and get them out," said the Bahraini.
Meanwhile, a Housing Ministry official was sent to the scene to assess the damage.
"Smoke travelled all the way up to the sixth floor causing smoke damage all the way up the side of the building and the residents' apartments were coated in soot," said the ministry senior engineer.
"The ministry has been issued orders to immediately fix the structure and the residents' homes.”
"Already there are electricians, plumbers, painters, elevator repair men and cleaning crews on site.”
"Electricity has been turned off because several water pipes were damaged." – TradeArabia News Service