Saudi authorities continued on Monday to probe the cause of a massive fire that occurred in the old Intercontinental Hotel in the holy city of Mecca.
Eyewitnesses were quoted by Saudi media as saying that the cause was a gas cylinder inside the hotel, located in Mecca's Um Al-Joud neighborhood.
But Col. Ali Al-Muntasheri, head of the Civil Defense Investigation Department, ruled out the possibility of a gas cylinder explosion, according to the Saudi Gazette. He said the abandoned hotel building had leftover equipment which might have caused the fire.
He denied rumors that the explosion was intentional, adding that there were no casualties and that the hotel building would be demolished.
Five teams from the Saudi Red Crescent and seven other teams from the Saudi Civil defense responded to the fire.
The incident occurred a week after the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage was over. More than three million Muslim pilgrims were in Mecca to perform the ritual and the Saudi authorities had deployed thousands of security personnel to ensure the safety of pilgrims.
The explosion also came days after a gas truck exploded early when it crashed into a concrete flyover east of the Saudi capital Riyadh killing 22 people and injuring at least 111, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.