One striking revelation from the investigation is that, rather than the people who were at the scene of the event, it was an employee at a nearby café called for rescue.
Rabat – Morocco’s Interior Ministry has released the first conclusions of the recent investigation into the death of a 7-year-old girl in a fire in Sidi Allal Bahraoui, a small town in the Khemisset Province in the Rabat-Kenitra-Sale region.
On Sunday, August 4, shock spread through Morocco with the tragic news of a girl’s death in a blaze at her home in Sidi Allal Bahraoui .
The 7-year-old girl, Hiba, lost her life in a fire caused by a low-quality telephone charger, according to reports.
Testimonies from witnesses at the scene of the blaze sparked outrage among Moroccans. Chief among the reports was the fact that the rescue team came very late and fire fighters were under equipped once they reached the scene of the incident.
Many lamented the “lack of professionalism” of Morocco’s emergency services, saying that the tragedy could have been prevented had the officers been on time and equipped.
However, according to the preliminary findings of the “official investigation,” civil protection officers who came to the scene “duly discharged their mission” when they were called on to intervene. The report noted that testimonies from eye witnesses left out many important details.
In the preliminary conclusions of the investigation, it is mentioned that the civil protection rescue team was first contacted by phone at 17:13, several minutes after the fire had started and was already spreading in the room.
One striking revelation from the investigation is that, rather than the people who were on the scene of the event, it was an employee at a nearby café called for rescue.
The man reportedly who called a friend of his who works as a firefighter. The firefighter then informed his colleagues about the incident and a rescue team was immediately sent to the scene, according to the investigation.
A 6-member civil protection team was already present on the scene by 17:14, just a minute after receiving the information. That first rescue team came onboard a fire truck accompanied by an ambulance, the report noted.
Another, more equipped and well-prepared intervention team arrived at 17:17. They immediately noticed the flames were “strong and violent,” and they started working to calm the flames and stop the fire from spreading to nearby buildings or apartments. By 17: 20, they had already “managed to bring the flames under control.”
The report noted, however, that the strength of the flames and the inflammatory objects in the room were some of the factors that slowed the intervention, making it particularly difficult for the intervention to be successful in record time.
But, the report added, the presence on the scene of “thugs” who interfered with fire fighters when they tried to increase water pressure slowed the intervention and impacted the outcome.
The investigation is particularly adamant that the intervention team was fully equipped and acted as quickly as possible.
One question, though, is why it was a nearby café employee, rather than the witnesses on the scene or family members of the deceased girl, who first contacted the firefighters, via his friend.
According to investigation, the first witnesses called a wrong number when the fire broke out. They reportedly dialed 155 instead of 15 or 150.
Contrary to eyewitness accounts from the scene, the investigation says that fire trucks were already loaded and rescue officers did not stop on their way to the incident in order to fill their vehicles.