A fire, which started in Gili Lankanfushi resprt at 2300 hours this Wednesday, caused irreparable damage to seven overwater villas before it was brought under control.
According to Fire and Rescue Services of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), the flames were brought under control at 0100 hours through the joint efforts of fire rescuers and resort staff.
By the time the fire was completely extinguished at 0500 hours on Thursday, several overwater villas, a restaurant and the resort’s main kitchens were considerably damaged. MNDF also revealed that a jetty had also caught fire in the incident.
MNDF disclosed that seven rooms were damaged beyond repair. In addition, some individuals who spoke to local media outlet Mihaaru stated that the kitchens and a restaurant were also burnt.
Fire and Rescue stated that strong winds had enabled the fire to spread through the thatched roofs of villas. All of Gili Lankanfushi’s rooms are located over water, with only staff facilities, restaurants and the main kitchens located on the island itself.
“The fire was uncontrollable”, stated one person who spoke to Mihaaru, regarding the incident which originated in a Cruise Villa.
Video footage that went public depicts two overwater villas which are on fire.
While an MNDF official stated that no information has been received regarding injuries or fatalities, Gili Lankafushi has assured that all guests were accounted for and evacuated.
According to the resort’s staff, Gili Lankanfushi was informed of the fire by a nearby fishing vessel.
Gili Lankanfushi further announced that a full investigation will be carried out to assess the damages and determine the cause of the incident.
The incident occurred amidst the peak of Maldives' tourism season, with a high influx of tourists for Christmas and New Year Celebrations. It is surmised that Gili Lankanfushi was also at high capacity.
Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed visited the resort following the incident. Gili Lankafushi is located 20 minutes from the capital city of Male’ by speedboat.