Fire destroys apartment in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI — An infant and its grandmother were rescued from a neighbouring flat and more than 360 families evacuated after a fifth floor apartment in a residential complex in Khalidiya area caught fire yesterday morning.

By Adel Arafah (Our staff reporter)

Published: Tue 20 Nov 2007, 8:55 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:38 AM

The fire started in the apartment of an employee of the Abu Dhabi police after 7.15am but was noticed by neighbours only after 45 minutes when it had become a massive blaze and swept to the sixth floor.

Lt. Colonel Tareq Samhan, acting head of the civil protection unit, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Department, said, “Ten fire engines of three civil defence centres and a large number of firefighters battled for three hours to contain the fire which had destroyed all contents of the apartment by the time.”

The delay in spotting the fire and notifying the civil defence had made it difficult for the firefighters to douse the fire, he said. “They could not enter the apartment through the front door and were forced to go in using an electric ladder. Other civil defence men broke the apartment door open to contain the flames from spreding to the next-door apartment,” Lt-Colonel Samhan said.

Despite the thick cloud of smoke, the civil defence teams battled the fire for around three hours.

More than 360 families of the three-building complex were evacuated as a precautionary measure.

First Lieutenant Mohammed Ibrahim Al Saji, head of back-up services, Department of Public Safety and Emergency of Abu Dhabi Police, said the Rescue and Quick Intervention Unit saved an infant and his grandmother from asphyxiation from a neighbouring apartment. They were given oxygen on the spot and moved to Khalifa Hospital for further medical care.

Lieutenant Abdullah Ali Al Sugheri, head of the Rescue and Quick Intervention Unit, said ten teams were involved in fighting the fire.

“Thick fumes of smoke forced firefighters to use artificial respiration systems,” he said.

Nasser Mahmoud, the tenant of the apartment, said he had gone out with his wife and three kids at 7.15am. He was informed about the blaze by one of his neighbours at 8am. By the time he arrived at the complex, the firefighters were battling the blaze.

“My losses are estimated at about Dh100,000, including Dh7,000 in cash kept in the cupboard, clothes, passports and jewellery,” he said.

The cause of the fire is not known. The investigations are still on.

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