KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 30 (UPI) — At least 11 people died and hundreds were injured in a massive fire at a sprawling residential housing complex for employees of oil giant Saudi Aramco.
Investigators said the blaze started in a basement at Saudi Armaco’s Radium Residential Complex, which has 486 units in eight six-story buildings and is located some 20 minutes from Dhahran, where the company is headquartered. Officials said some 200 people have been injured in the blaze and taken to local hospitals including Saudi Aramco Johns Hopkins Health Center in Dhahran.
Saudi’s civil defence ministry tweeted: “Cars and furniture caught fire in the basement of one of the towers, heavy smoke billowed, obstructing rescue and firefighting operations.”
Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company in terms of crude production and exports, operates several gated compounds for its workforce, made up mostly of expats. The Radium complex has one- and two-bedroom units and includes a gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a playground, a bowling alley and a beauty salon, among other amenities.
The company employs some 61,000 workers from 77 countries, many who live in company housing.