At least 41 die in a fire at a building housing foreign workers in Kuwait

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, 12 Jun (AP) — A fire swept through a building that housed foreign workers in Kuwait early Wednesday, killing at least 41 people. Officials said the blaze appeared to be linked to code violations.

Interior Minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah confirmed the toll and ordered the arrest of the building’s owner during a visit to the site, local media reported.

“We will address the issue of labor overcrowding,” he said. “I’m now going to see what violations were committed here and I will deal with the owner of the property.”

Local media said scores of workers were living in the building in the southern Mangaf district, without giving their nationality.

Col. Sayed Hassan al-Mousawi, head of the firefighters’ Accident Investigation Department, said there were dozens of casualties and that the final death toll may be higher.

India’s ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, said over 30 Indian workers injured in the blaze were admitted to a hospital. Swaika shared the information on X but did not specify whether any Indian nationals had died.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the victims and said the Indian Embassy is “closely monitoring the situation and working with the authorities there to assist the affected.”

“The fire mishap in Kuwait City is saddening. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest,” Modi posted on X.

Kuwait, like other Persian Gulf countries, has a large community of migrant workers who far outnumber the local population. The nation of some 4.2 million people is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey but has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.

A fire at an oil refinery in 2022 killed four people.