Fire in residential building displaces scores

Scores of people were brought to the Abu Dhabi Social Support Centre of the Ministry of the Interior after they narrowly escaped a fire that almost gutted a eight-storeyed building.

By Amira Agarib And Lily B. Libo-on

Published: Sun 29 Aug 2010, 12:27 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:14 AM

The fire completely destroyed 10 cars parked in front of the building along Airport Road.

The incident happened at 3.15pm on Saturday.

No one was reported seriously injured. But, first aid was given to many who suffered smoke inhalation.

The victims, who were occupants of the 28 flats in the eight-storeyed building, were running towards the lone entrance and exit door of the building, without any belongings.

Jihan Al Zaabi, a social welfare officer of the Abu Dhabi Social support Centre, reached the scene an hour after the fire erupted so as to shift the victims to the centre.

Clara Philip, a nurse who moved to the first floor of the building three months back, said that she applied first aid to herself and her husband and others who had inhaled so muchsmoke billowing from the building.

Officials from the Police and the Ministry of the Interior distributed food, fruits and drinks to the victims.

Mohammed Ahmed Sultan Al Orisi, a UAE national who lives nearby, brought fruits, food and drinks from his own home for the victims.

The police are still investigating the cause of the fire while the Civil Defence personnel continued their operation at the time of filing this report. Three Civil Defence divisions from Al Butina, Khalifa and Al Falah have responded to the call.

The police cordoned off the area and closed the roads to the direction of Dubai where the fire broke out.

A police officer told Khaleej Times that they prevented people from entering the building to protect them from any further harm.

The quick intervention of the Emergency Technical Rescue and the Emergency Public Safety Departments and the Civil Defence prevented the fire from totally razing the building to the ground and from escalating to an ADNOC petrol station located less than 100 metres from the building on fire.

An employee of the petrol station, who requested anonymity, told Khaleej Times that he immediately disconnected the electricity in the ADNOC petrol station when he saw the fire in the building nearby.

Eyewitnesses of the incident told Khaleej Times that the fire started with sparks from electrical sockets and engulfed the carpets and pieces of the furniture displayed in a furniture shop on the ground floor of the building.

Amir Al Osama said the cars were destroyed by the fire as he was with his family inside the building preparing for Iftar.

Mahmoud, one of the victims, told Khaleej Times that he was sleeping when he smelled smoke and started getting suffocated.

“All occupants rushed to the main door and forgot to use the fire exits as they ran in panic. Police arrived within 15 minutes followed by the Civil Defence personnel,” he said.

Mohammad Hassan told Khaleej Times that he and most of the victims ran quickly leaving their belongings, including cash and passports and other important documents inside their flats.

“I ran leaving my passport and luggage and rushed from the fourth floor of the building,” Ali said.

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