Fire kills 7 siblings in Syrian capital Damascus


DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Seven siblings were asleep in their apartment in the Syrian capital when a fire broke out and spread quickly, suffocating six in their bedroom and burning to death the seventh, a girl, who was stuck under a false ceiling that collapsed as she tried to flee, first responders said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze late Tuesday in the Arnous family apartment on the fourth floor of a building in the Amara district in the city center. Family members speculated an electrical short circuit, while a paramedic suggested an electric heater turned on during the cold night could have been the cause.

Killed were three boys and four girls ranging in age from 3 to 13 and identified by relatives as Fares, Sidra, Seif, Mustafa, Hala, Hallah and Nadia.

The tragedy, which came amid an ongoing seven-year civil war that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands, shook residents of Damascus.

The fire occurred at about 10 p.m. (2000 GMT) when the parents were visiting the children’s maternal grandmother, who was recently discharged from a hospital. Relatives said the father was informed of the fire by his sister, who lives in the opposite building. He arrived within 10 minutes but was unable to do anything because of the ferocity of the fire.

Hunter Biden May Have Just Ratted Out Joe, Acknowledges Identity of the 'Big Guy' in $5M China Deal

“The children were sleeping and nobody was able to reach the apartment because the fire was spreading quickly,” said the siblings’ paternal cousin Hadi Arnous, 35, standing outside the charred apartment.

On Wednesday, piles of rubble were being removed by firefighters and the apartment made up of three rooms was totally burned. Stairs leading to the burned apartments were charred.

Two apartments on the fourth and fifth floors were totally burned out. Construction material was brought by the Damascus governorate to start renovating the building.

The children’s uncle, Yassin Arnous, who lives in the same building on the fifth floor, said the fire reached his apartment and his children were rescued by neighbors as he tried to reach his nephews and nieces.

“I ran downstairs but because of the raging fire, I could not do anything,” Arnous said. “We grieve over the children. It’s a big loss.”

The family’s apartment is in an area known for its narrow alleys, which are usually crowded until late. Yassin Arnous said that stands where vendors sell clothes and fruit probably delayed the arrival of fire fighters.

Mohammad Dalati, a neighbor who lives on the 2nd floor, said he wasn’t able to reach the apartment on fire because fire had reached the building’s stairs.

The fire “turned into a burning ball in less than three minutes,” Dalati said. He added that the victims’ cousins who were staying a floor above were rescued by people who had climbed the roof from the adjacent building.

The father of the seven children, Hassan Arnous, was at the hospital Wednesday where the bodies of his seven children are kept. Two other children, a soldier and a married daughter, were not at home when the fire occurred.

NASCAR Busts Driver During Random Inspection, Displays Cheating Gear Reportedly Found on His Person

On Wednesday, state news agency SANA said the cause of the fire was not immediately known, adding that it might have been caused by an electric heater. The news agency says Prime Minister Emad Khamis visited the site late Tuesday.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City