Police: Fire originated from garage; cause remains unclear

Head of Death and Homicide Investigation Unit, Inspector of Police Mohamed Samih speaks to press on November 14, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

Police investigators have established the deadly fire in Male’ City’s Maafannu district last week originated from the car repair garage, but have yet to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire broke out at M. Nirufehi, located near the Maaveyo Mosque, around 12:30 am Thursday. The garage is located on the ground floor of the building, while the first and second floors housed cramped accommodation for migrant workers.

The fire killed 10 migrant workers and critically injured one.

In a press conference Monday, Head of Death and Homicide Investigation Unit, Inspector of Police Mohamed Samih said the condition of the migrant worker hospitalized with first degree burns remains critical.

Samih said the investigation into the fire remains ongoing.

Firefighters respond to a fire in M. Nirufehi on November 10, 2022. (Sun Photo/Shuaib Mohamed)

However, investigator have yet to determine the cause of the fire.

“Investigative findings establish the fire originated from the garage,” he said.

According to Samih, there were 26 people living in Nirufehi when the fire broke out.

Samih said the building was constructed with a wooden deck, making it easier for the fire to spread.

“Because of this, it took one-and-a-half minute to two minutes for the fire that broke out in the garage to spread to the entire building,” he said.

People are evacuated from M. Nirufehi on November 10, 2022. (Sun Photo)

Samih said the first floor of the building housed four rooms and the second floor housed eight.

He said that the garage door had been locked from outside when the fire broke out, and that the garage had a small space to accommodate five people.

Samih said the garage on the ground floor was permitted for operations in Hulhumale’, and that it was operated in Male’ illegally.

He said the police were investigating the case.

“Investigative findings show a business registration under the name of the owner of the garage operated out of M. Nirufehi, under the name ASM Garage, and that the business was permitted for operation in Hulhumale’,” he said.

Damage from a fire at M. Nirufehi on November 10, 2022. (Sun Photo)

The owner of the garage, who spoke to Sun on condition of anonymity Thursday, claimed the fire did not originate from the garage but from near the wooden staircase that led up to the accommodation.

The 10 migrant workers killed in the fire have been identified as eight Indians – five males and three females, and two Bangladeshis – a male and a female.

The police are coordinating efforts with the Maldivian Foreign Ministry and the Indian High Commission and the Bangladesh High Commission to transport the bodies of the victims back home to their families.

The bodies of three Indian nationals have been sent back home.