Fire tears through six buildings in UNESCO-preserved historic district in Jeddah

A fire that tore through six buildings in Jeddah’s historical centre on Tuesday has been brought under control, officials from the Jeddah Civil Defense said.

The fire resulted in the collapse of three buildings and the evacuation of 60 people from the Al-Balad district of Saudi’s second largest city, Arab News reported.

In 1991 the Municipality of Jeddah founded the Jeddah Historical Preservation Society in order to preserve the historical architecture and culture of Al-Balad. The district also become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.

Spokesman Col. Saeed Sarhan said that the blaze initially broke out in a four-story building with wooden ceilings, and then spread to two more nearby historical buildings.

“Rescue teams managed Tuesday evening to evacuate about 60 people to safe areas, while firefighters extinguished the blaze that broke out at the front of six buildings, all of which were populated and within the historic area,” he said.

The cause of fire has not yet been released, though no injuries or causalities were reported, Sarhan added.

The emergency response teams rushed to the scene of the fire as soon as the incident was reported, but were delayed due to the narrow roads of the district, witnesses said.

More than a dozen firefighting and rescue teams from Jeddah’s General Directorate of Civil Defense helped control the blaze.

Firefighters managed to contain around 80% of the fire by 10pm on Wednesday night, according to Sami Nawar, mayor of the Al-Balad district.

 

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