Five more bodies found in gutted warehouses

DUBAI - The bodies of five men feared dead in Thursday's fire at warehouses in Al Quoz industrial area, near Al Barsha in Dubai, were recovered from the site yesterday, bringing the number of dead to eight.

By A Correspondent

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Published: Sat 8 Feb 2003, 2:31 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 10:24 PM

However, a top official did not rule out the possibility of finding more bodies in the rubble. "There were many people near the warehouses and that is why we are continuing the search operation," said Colonel Ali Al Sayed Ibrahim, Director of Dubai Civil Defence Department. All the victims who died in the blast are Asian labourers.

Col Ibrahim said the cause of the explosion was a combination of many factors, and "we will leave that to criminal experts. We have orders from higher authorities to look closely at these incidents and put together procedures and rules to prevent such disasters in the future".
He said there was a possibility that more bodies would be found from the debris of the warehouses which contained foodstuff, accessories, firecrackers and car spare parts.
He said five people were still receiving treatment at the hospital and their conditions were described as stable.

The Civil Defence chief called for a joint meeting of police, Department of Economic Development, Dubai Municipality, Customs, Civil Defence and supervisors of Dubai Shopping Festival, in order to put together procedures for import, transport, storage and use of fire crackers. "We have clearly noticed that there are shortages in such procedures, besides the fact that firecrackers were imported from countries that do not follow advanced safety procedures. Actually, some were imported from countries that fall far behind in technologies needed to deal with such products," said Col. Ibrahim.

The proposed meeting, he said, is expected to set necessary specifications for warehouses. "Firecrackers should not be stored with foodstuff. We have also seen some firecracker products kept in cargo vehicles parked on roadsides," he said. Rescuers admitted that they were not very optimistic on finding any survivors in the massive fire that ensued after an explosion at around 4pm in one of the warehouses.

The affected areas, according Civil Defence and police officials, were three units which had several sections.
They believe the cause of the incident was mishandling of some hazardous material kept in one of the warehouses.
Rescue workers found three bodies on Thursday night and were continuing the search.

Dubai Police opened an investigation into the incident, but officers yesterday declined to speculate on the exact cause of the blast. However, security sources said that the warehouse at which the explosion occurred was licensed for storing foodstuff material. The sources said apparently three explosions ripped through the warehouses, which turned the area into a tableau of destruction. Civil Defence vehicles from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and water tankers from private companies were deployed in the firefighting.

Civil Defence personnel managed to bring the fire under control in around three hours and officials said their efforts helped save a carpet warehouse that contained goods worth Dh10 million.

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