Weekes family still waiting for answers
Fri, 21 Sep 2012 6:07p.m.
By Tom McRae
The New Zealand parents who lost their triplets in a mall fire in Doha are disgusted it has been reopened.
In May, Jane and Martin Weekes lost their two-year-old triplets when a fire broke out in the Villaggio mall and so far there have been no answers for them, or the other families of the 19 people killed.
Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were at the daycare centre in the Villaggio mall when a fire broke out in a sporting goods store.
“To this day we still don't know what happened,” says Mr Weekes. “We don't know what the safety failures were other than there were systemic failures. Everything from the emergency exits being chained, to no fire alarms, no sprinkler systems and no security. We don't know if they've been fixed.”
Nineteen people died in the fire including 13 children.
The mall has been totally renovated since the fire, and just reopened - much to the disgust of the victims' families.
“We had hoped that people would've been more communicative with us. We've heard nothing, nothing in four months other than what we've heard in the media. Then we heard today from the media that the mall had reopened - and that's two weeks after the mall owner failed to turn up in court,” says Mr Weekes.
An investigation was opened and five people including the mall's owner were arrested.
“People need to know that what went wrong, that it will never happen again,” says Mr Weekes. “To do that people need to be transparent in letting people know what the failures were no matter how embarrassing or difficult that may seem. Let people know and give people the assurance that it will never happen again because the right steps have been made.”
The Weekes say there will be no closure until that happens.
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30/09/2012 3:59:29 a.m.
Mrs Margaret Chapman wrote:
As a parent and grandparent,mine and my husband thoughts are their should be a placef for all the families that have lost loved ones,where they can got to spend a quiet moment, as they need time to grieve for those they have lost. There are other malls where you can shop. Personally I or my husband will never shop there again.
30/09/2012 3:53:52 a.m.
Australian Expatriate wrote:
I think Mr & Mrs Weeks should be filing for damages if thats at all possible within this legal system. Im sure they could get suitable & effective representation and in doing so, they should do their damdest to make sure justice is served. Qatari officials dont seem to be doing very much. I live in Doha, and I remember being blown away after hearing that the ivestigation into the mall fire had been conducted and final... after a short period of time!! I also expected that it would have been sprearheded by experienced international fire investigators, but in fact it was spearheaded by a local official. This is appalling, and if Mr & Mrs weeks dont take a more aggressive approach, this all may be quietly swept under the carpet so to speak. I believe two of the three accused failed to appear for the first court hearing. I am sickened by all of this, because I too have heard so many disturbing and horrifying acounts of all things that went wrong that & may have contributed to deaths of the children and child care workers. Someone should be held accountable and responsible. In a western country these irresposible people would be convicted of manslaughter! If the tables were turned, and I for instance casued the death of a Qatari child through negligence, I would be subject to a life in prison, or even worse! Signed, a very angry Australian expatriate.
29/09/2012 10:05:32 a.m.
To Craig: Have you ever asked for the licence of your kids' school or nursery? No one does because it's the government job to do so, and it's cruel to blame the parents of these beautiful babies. They have lost their love ones and they would have never put their kids in a dangerous place. Please, have some respect for the memories of the victims.
29/09/2012 6:25:55 a.m.
Why not keep Villagio closed until the Court case is settled.
That would keep the pressure up for a swift proceeding, which would give the families chance for the truth.
25/09/2012 9:38:27 a.m.
Karen Hodges wrote:
What a heartless comment!
22/09/2012 10:24:00 p.m.
Here is an answer. Do not put your kids in unlicensed day care.
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