Garage fire: Bodies of some of the deceased to be transported to home countries

Rescue workers recover a body from M. Nirufehi on November 10, 2022. (Sun Photo/Ahmed Azif)

Maldives Police Service, on Friday, revealed that efforts were underway to transport the bodies of some of the deceased expats in the fire at M. Nirufehi on early Thursday morning to their home countries in line with their families’ wishes.

Police said the efforts are being undertaken in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry and the consulates of India and Bangladesh in the Maldives.

The fire broke out in a car repair garage in M. Nirufehi, located near the Maaveyo Mosque, around 12:30am on early Thursday morning. The garage is located on the ground floor, while the first-floor houses cramped living quarters for migrant workers – the only ventilation – a single window. Authorities state that cooking gas cylinders were next to each bed, where the migrants slept.

The quarters housed migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

10 people died, while one, identified as a Bangladeshi national, is in critical condition. Authorities have confirmed the deceased as four women including three Indians and one Bangladeshi, and six men. The five men identified so far included four Indians and one Bangladeshi.

The identity of one of the deceased men has not been established yet.

The incident marks the fire with the highest number of fatalities in the Maldives.

As per the authorities, the migrant quarters housed at least 38 people, and there were cooking gas cylinders placed next to each bed. 28 were rescued, of which nine remain under NDMA’s care; six women and three men.