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Kuwait fire tragedy: Pall of gloom descends over two Kottayam families

According to the Kuwaiti authorities, the fire broke out in a building in the southern city of Mangaf, in which 49 foreign workers, including around 40 Indians, were killed, and 50 others injured.
Last Updated : 13 June 2024, 11:35 IST

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Kottayam, Kerala: The eldest of three brothers, 29-year-old Stephin Abraham Sabu from Pampady here was excited about moving into their newly built house by August after living in a rented accommodation for over 13 years.

However, a pall of doom descended on their rented accommodation here on Thursday after unconfirmed news reports about his presence in the building that caught fire in Kuwait killing 49 persons and injuring many others.

Sabu, who had been working in Kuwait for the past six years, had come home six months ago to buy some material, like tiles, for the new house under construction, the landlord of the house in Pampady, where his family lived, told reporters.

"Just two days ago, he called his mother, asking about the construction work and how it was progressing. They were also excited about moving into their new home. They have been living here on rent for over 13 years," the landlord said.

A marriage was also on the cards for Sabu.

"Nothing was fixed. They had seen the girl. They were planning to move forward with the proposal after he returns and they shift into the new home," the landlord said. He remembered Sabu as an excellent and hard-working student. "His brothers were also excellent in their studies. The youngest is working in Israel, and the one in the middle is in Kuwait," he said.

Besides Sabu, another person belonging to Kottayam, 27-year-old Srihari Pradeep, was also living in the same building in Kuwait which caught fire.

His father, Pradeep, too, works in Kuwait. A friend of the family told reporters that Srihari had gone back to Kuwait last week, on June 5.

"Barely a week later, news of his death reached here. We learned about it yesterday afternoon. His father informed the family as there were news reports on TV about the tragedy," the family friend said.

He said that Srihari was working in a supermarket in Kuwait until he could find a job related to his field of study, mechanical engineering.

"His father is trying to return to Kerala by today, and efforts are being made to bring back his body by tomorrow," he added.

Neither the Centre and state governments nor the Indian Embassy in Kuwait have officially confirmed the identities of the Indians who perished in the fire.

According to the Kuwaiti authorities, the fire broke out in a building in the southern city of Mangaf, in which 49 foreign workers, including around 40 Indians, were killed, and 50 others injured.

The fire started in the kitchen of the seven-storey building housing 195 migrant workers in Mangaf in the Ahmadi Governorate early on Wednesday. The fire erupted just after 4 am when the majority of the 196 all-male residents of the building were asleep. It resulted in huge, thick clouds of black smoke that led to most of the victims suffocating to death, according to officials from the Kuwait Interior Ministry and the Fire Department.

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Published 13 June 2024, 11:35 IST

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