Kuwait orders arrest of foreign worker housing owner after fire kills about 40 Indians

Emergency workers approaching a charred building
Officials in Kuwait say the deadly blaze appears to be linked to code violations.
(Kuwait TV via Associated Press)
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A fire swept through a building that housed foreign workers in Kuwait early Wednesday, killing at least 40 Indian nationals and injuring more than 50, India’s External Ministry said. Local officials said the blaze appeared to be linked to code violations.

Kuwaiti 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.”


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

Indian External Affairs officials announced late Wednesday in a statement that “around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 injured.”

The last time war came to the Persian Gulf, Mushtaq Amhad, a Pakistani barber, was lucky to escape with his life.

Feb. 17, 2003

The injured are being treated in five government hospitals in Kuwait and receiving “proper medical care and attention,” the statement added. It said that Junior External Affairs Minister Kirti Vardhan Singh would be traveling to Kuwait to work toward early repatriation of victims’ remains and medical assistance to those injured.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the victims’ loved ones, and said the Indian Embassy was “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 wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Kuwait is among the Persian Gulf countries with large communities of migrant workers; here, they far outnumber the local population. The nation of some 4.2 million people is slightly smaller than of New Jersey but has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.


In 2022, a fire at an oil refinery in Kuwait killed four people.