UPDATE: The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a cable of condolences to the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani over Thursday's fire which resulted in a number of causalities.
He also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wished speedy recovery of those injured.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai ,and General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, have sent similar cables to the Emir of Qatar.
The major fire that broke out near Landmark Mall in Doha, has been contained, according to Doha authorities.
Pic: Tamir Omara
Parts of Al Shamal Road in the Gharaffa district were blocked, according to witnesses.
WAM said nine people have been killed and about 32 more injured in a blast at a restaurant adjacent to a petrol station near a shopping mall in Doha.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported that according to a source at the Ambulance Service Department, a burst gas cylinder was to blame for the blast, which happened shortly after 10 a.m. Among the injured, there are reported to be three critical cases, 16 medium and 13 others.
Qatar's Ministry of Interior, earlier issued a statement, saying: “Firefighting teams of General Directorate of Civil Defence (GDCD) brought under control a fire [that] broke out at Istanbul Restaurant nearby Landmark petrol station due to an explosion of gas cylinders this morning, Thursday, February 27, 2014.
"As the Operation Room received the report at 10.10 am, the concerned authorities including firefighters of GDCD, Al Fazaa rescue police, search and rescue team of Internal Security Force (Lakhwiya) hurried to the site. The teams dealt with the scene in an efficient and professional way as they evacuated the people from the building and cordoned fire area to prevent its spread to the adjacent premises. In record time, the teams could control the fire and evacuate the injured persons."
The director of Operations Department of the GDCD Brig. Hamad Al Duhaimi the firefighting and rescue teams handled the situation quickly and work is going on to rescue the injured and those trapped. Duhaimi added that 4 persons have died as of now and there a number of injured persons with various levels of seriousness. Some cars in the site also have been damaged, he added.
Brig. Duhaimi appreciated the public in the area as they were highly cooperative with security authorities by making way for firefighting and rescue teams and police patrols helping to control the fire in short time.Authorities bring under control effects of gas explosion at Istanbul Restaurant, secures petrol station after moving vehicles at the scene.
‘To ensure safety, all roads leading to accident scene have been closed to make way for civil defense and rescue teams to complete procedures.
‘Motorists are urged to take alternative routes. Authorities are currently cooling the accident site, securing nearby shops and moving the affected things and parts from the scene’.
Earlier, Alex bint Eisa reported on Twitter: “Woke to loud boom and house shaking like really bad thunder, looked outside no rain. Now there's sirens. What happened by Landmark?”
Pic: Mariam J
When quizzed by a follower, he later responded to a query saying: “Tons of police and ambulance after ambulance but I don’t think it was the petrol station.”
Mariam J who was on the scene tweeted: “Right now besides Landmark not sure what happened but I think something exploded; the whole area is damaged.”
Pic: Mayasa Hassan
Salman Siddiqui said: “Reports of an explosion near Landmark mall in Doha are coming in, some pictures have destroyed cars near a shop.”
The story is still developing and the number of injured and casualties hasn't been officially announced even as the fire has now been brought under control.