New Zealand triplets, aged 2, among children killed in Doha shopping center fire


General view of the Villagio mall in Doha, Qatar. A fire near a nursery in the mall claimed 19 lives, including those of 13 children, on May 28, 2012.


Christof Koepsel

Three children killed in a major fire at a shopping center in Doha, Qatar were triplets from New Zealand aged 2, according to MSN NZ.

Another set of siblings — three children of an executive of Spanish construction company OHL who works in Qatar, aged between 2 and 7 — were also killed, EFE reported

Qatari officials confirmed that 19 people had died in the fire at the upscale Villagio Mall in Doha's west end, 13 of them children, the Associated Press reported.

More from GlobalPost: Qatar fire kills 19 foreigners, including 13 children

The fire, which reportedly started in or near a nursery, was extinguished hours after it started, the Interior Ministry said.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed that four Spanish children in total had died, but provided no further details.

A French child was also among those killed, along with others from Japan, the Philippines and Benin according to reports.

And Sapa reported that two South Africans killed were an 18-month-old toddler and a 28-year-old woman from Cape Town who worked at the childcare centre.

Witnesses reported thick black smoke pouring from the mall about midday local time on Monday, while amateur photos and videos posted online showed firefighters rescuing victims by climbing on the roof.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key confirmed that the three children killed were triplets, saying the family would be offered all the support they needed, TVNZ reported.

New Zealand Consul to the Middle East, Brian Chambers, was on his way to the scene and would assist officials in any way possible, Key said.