“Most of the workers died because of burn injuries, and possibly because of the severe suffocation as well as smoke inhalation,” said Manohar Ram, charge d’affaires at the Indian Embassy, on Saturday.
Ram said that police have launched an investigation to ascertain the cause of the blaze.
“The embassy officials spent more than six hours at the site of the fire today and visited the Central Somaisi Hospital, where two injured workers have been admitted,” said the diplomat. Five of the victims were from the India’s southern state of Kerala.
They all were below 40 and their bodies are in Somaisi’s morgue.
A Nepali worker was also killed. Ram said the embassy was making all necessary arrangements to send the bodies to India.
He said the bodies of the Indians were identifiable despite severe injuries.
“There were indications of bleeding from the nose … and it seems that the bleeding was mainly because of the suffocation and smoke inhalation,” he added.
The embassy, he said, was trying to repatriate the bodies as early as possible.
Some of the bodies may be locally buried if the victims’ families say so or else they will be sent to India, said Ram.
He pointed out that E. Ahamed, Indian minister of state for external affairs, was briefed about the incident on Saturday.
The Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA) has expressed grief over the deaths of workers in the fire, which broke out at the workers’ accommodation adjoining Al-Suweilan Supermarket in the city’s Batha District.
“It is believed that the workers’ accommodation was a makeshift arrangement and that the safety measures were sub-standard,” said FOKASA in an e-mail to Arab News on Saturday.
The FOKASA has also called for payment of adequate compensation to the victims’ families.
Those who died have been identified as Sulaiman, 30; Abdul Raheem, 28; Shaji Thomas, 32; Ajith, 26; Ahmed Kabeer, 37; Muhammad, 45; and Rakesh Shah, 24, from Nepal. The injured workers are Muhammad Ali and Niaz, both from Kerala

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