Mecca fire of 1997
|Mecca fire of 1997|
|Location||Mecca, Saudi Arabia|
|Date(s)||15 April 1997|
|Buildings destroyed||70,000 tents|
|Deaths||between 217 and 300|
The fire erupted in the overcrowded tent city, Mina, where an estimated two million Muslim pilgrims were gathered on for the first day of the Hajj, the ritualistic pilgrimage to Mecca. The fire erupted at 11:45 a.m. (AST), and was caused by exploding canisters of cooking gas, according to witnesses. The fire was fanned by winds of nearly 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) causing the destruction of an estimated 70,000 tents. Officially, 1,290 were injured and 217 killed, though witnesses and local newspapers claimed at least 300 were killed, many trampled in the panic. Later official reports gave a death toll of 343, no official list of fatalities has been published. Opposition sources claimed over 2,000 deaths had occurred, many from trampling. The fire was fought by three hundred fire engines as well as helicopters, and controlled in three hours.
- Abraham, Sonny (16 April 1997). "Over two hundred Indians die in Haj fire". Rediff.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
- "Saudi diplomat: Hajj fire was an accident". CNN. 16 April 1997. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "Report: Death toll in hajj fire actually is 2,000". CNN. 21 April 1997. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "More Than 200 Pilgrims Killed by Fire Near Mecca". Los Angeles Times. 16 April 1997. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- "Fire in Mecca Kills Pilgrims in Tent Camps". New York Times. 16 April 1997. Retrieved 12 June 2011.