Three two-year-old triplets from New Zealand were foot locker west end mall the victims who perished after a fire broke out in an upmarket shopping mall in the Qatari capital Doha yesterday. Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes died after they became trapped when a staircase leading up to the Villaggio mall’s first floor nursery collapsed.
Firefighters smashed their way through the roof of the building to try to rescue those inside, but they were too late to save the trio who reportedly died of smoke inhalation. A further ten children and six adults also died. Four of the children killed were Spanish citizens living in the small Arab emirate, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said. Three brothers between the ages of two and seven, whose father has been named as senior construction worker Camilo Travesedo from Madrid, died in the blaze. A seven-year-old Spanish girl, named so far only as Isabel originally from Campo de Criptana in the Ciudad Real area, also died. Her parents, according to Europa Press, moved to Qatar for ‘work reasons’ some years ago.
A three-year-old French child was also among the victims, the deputy minister for overseas French citizens Yamina Benguigui said. Children from Japan, South Africa and the Philippines also died, it has been reported, along with three Filipino teachers and one teacher from South Africa. The children’s grandmother, Jo Turner, told Fairfax Media: ‘Our daughter rang. Mrs Turner said her daughter, Jane Weekes, had lived in Qatar for about five years, although she had returned to New Zealand to give birth to the triplets. Ron Turner, her husband, told Newstalk ZB he and his wife would be travelling to Doha tonight to be with their daughter and son-in-law. He said he had spoken to his daughter Jane, saying: ‘She was still just as numb I suppose, and just as empty as my wife and I feel right now and the rest of our family and friends who have rallied around to give us support.
It was only last week that Janet Weekes, the mother of the triplets, was writing online about potty training the trio. 1 or 2 on the pottys if it turned into rush. She said she was not yet confident enough to let the three go without nappies, particularly at night, which was ‘miles off her radar’. She also wrote of her love for co-ordinating the three children’s clothes, despite them not all being the same gender.