1,000 pilgrims evacuated as fire engulfs hotel in Mecca
Some one thousand people have been evacuated following a fire at the eighth floor of a hotel housing pilgrims from Asia in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Civil Defense agency said that at least two people were hurt in the blaze that engulfed the hotel early Thursday.
The agency would not disclose either the nationality of the pilgrims, or the cause of the incident.
The fire occurred at a time when thousands of Muslim pilgrims are pouring into the holy city to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Just days after killer crane crash
On September 11, a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque of Mecca. Over 100 people were killed in the tragedy that happened during strong winds and a storm. Hundreds of people were also injured.
A report by the committee investigating the crash said the construction giant, Saudi Binladin Group had been “in part responsible” for the tragedy.
“The position of the crane was in violation of operating instructions prepared by the manufacturer,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the committee as saying.
Saudi King Salman has put sanctions on the construction company over the crash. Salman suspended the group from participating in new contracts and ordered the Saudi Finance Ministry to review the firm’s current contracts.
According to the Saudi monarch’s ruling, announced in a royal court statement on Tuesday, the group’s senior executives and board members are barred from foreign travel until the investigation is complete and all legal cases are settled.