Saturday, August 05, 2006

Dolphin Park faced fire!

AN electrical fault in a kitchen exhaust fan caused a fire that gutted the Dolphin Park on Al Fateh Corniche, killing a Sea Cat (marine otter), it was revealed yesterday. Gulf Dolphin Company assistant general manager Ahmed Mahmoud Abd Al Aal said the marine mammal died after smoke engulfed the two-storey building, when fire broke out on the second floor at around 11.30pm on Friday.

The only other animal inside the park, a Beluga whale survived.

A chef working at the park told officials the Sea Cat died because it was locked in a cage outside the water, during questioning at the Public Prosecutor yesterday.

He added the whale was able to survive because it could go underwater to escape the smoke.
The tragedy could have been worse had two dolphins and a sea elephant been inside the building, but they had earlier been moved to another facility in Saudi Arabia for the summer, said Mr Al Aal.
No one was injured during the blaze as the last show had finished at 9.30pm and only a handful of staff were around, he said.

A total of 13 fire engines, including an aerial platform and water tenders were sent to the scene, and around 50 firemen tackled the blaze.

It took them half an hour to bring it under control and they were still there at 2am yesterday clearing up and making the building safe.

A police cordon was used to seal off the area while firemen tackled the blaze.

"It was an electrical fault in the kitchen in an office on the second floor," Mr Al Aal told the GDN from Saudi Arabia.

""We have already taken out the other Beluga whale, which has been transferred to a private swimming pool.

"We have rented one and we have salted the water and it has air conditioning.

"The dolphins are in Saudi, we are planning to take them back to Bahrain after the season has finished."

The park puts on shows six days a week and also allows private swims with the dolphins.
Mr Al Aal was unable to give a cost of the damage the park suffered as he is currently in Saudi Arabia and said he would need to inspect it personally.

He said that he was planning to fly to Bahrain tonight.

"The office is badly damaged and also the stadium," he said.

"However, the place is insured, everything is okay." Mr Al Aal said the park could be closed for nearly two months for repairs.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"