A large fire engulfed a commercial district of Qatar's capital Tuesday, resulting in heavy damage but causing no casualties, the country's civil defense chief said.

Firefighters later extinguished the blaze, and the cause of the fire was under investigation, said Brig. Abdullah Mohammed al-Suwaydi.

Police cordoned off a large area of the capital, Doha, early in the morning as the fire burned through an old commercial district close to the Doha International Airport. The area is inhabited by many expatriates.

Qatar is an energy-rich Arab country in the Persian Gulf. Its capital is home to several branches of American universities and to the Middle East headquarters for the U.S. Army's Central Command.