At least 16 Indians, all from Tamil Nadu, died of suffocation and seven others injured when a fire broke out in a three-storey building, housing over 200 expatriates, in Manama, capital city of Bahrain, on Sunday.
The fire, apparently caused by a short circuit, broke out at around 2.30 am (5 am IST) in the second floor of the building used as a residence for workers in the Gudabiya area, officials said.
"Nearly 16 suffocated to death due to heavy smoke, seven injured and 196 have been rescued," the Interior Ministry said.
Indian Ambassador to Manama Balakrishna Shetty, who along with Baharain Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa visited the site of the accident, said the seven injured suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning and were on oxygen support in hospital.
One of the injured also suffered a fracture in his hand as he tried to jump from a window after breaking its glass to escape the fire, he said. However, all the injured were out of danger, Shetty, who visited them in hospital, said.
The ambassador said all the victims - both dead and injured - were from Tamil Nadu and worked for Royal Towers Construction company. He said the people on the ground and first floors of the building escaped the fire and shifted to a neighbouring gym.
The company was warned in January over the poor safety of the workers but had not taken any safety measures and was flouting the labour laws, he said.