Minor fire: Dubai Mall evacuated

An investigation is on into the fire that broke out in The Dubai Mall around noon and forced the evacuation of Eid shoppers on Tuesday.

By Amira Agarib And Sajila Saseendran

Published: Wed 22 Aug 2012, 12:59 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:03 PM

Thousands of visitors, who thronged the mall next to the world’s tallest building and the Waterfall for Eid holiday celebrations and shopping, were evacuated by authorities after the fire broke out in one of the restaurants.

Thick plumes of smoke blanketed the first and second levels of the mall near the Waterfall area creating panic among the visitors. However, the fire was only minor and contained soon, according to Director of Dubai Civil Defence Major-General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi.

“The fire that erupted in Al Hallab Restaurant and Sweets located near the Waterfall was brought under control in a few minutes,” he said. Fire brigades from various stations rushed to the mall immediately after the operations room of the Civil Defence was alerted.

The official said The Dubai Mall had installed sophisticated fire-fighting devices such as alarm systems and automated sprinklers, which were activated as soon as the smoke began to spread. There was no major damage and nobody was injured, he added.

However, officials also helped in calming down many visitors who were in panic. Shops reopened and escalators started working by 12.45pm. The affected restaurant has been temporarily closed down.

Eyewitnesses speak

Earlier, eyewitnesses told Khaleej Times that they started seeing the smoke around midday. Following the announcement about the fire by the mall management, shops on the first and second levels were ordered to shut and mall visitors urged to exit.

An eyewitness said he heard the mall management’s announcement around noon. “Then I saw the smoke. I heard that a restaurant on Level 2 caught fire,” he said.

A female staff at one of the kiosks on the ground floor said the shops on the first and second levels were shut and shoppers were evacuated from those levels and the Waterfall area.

“I can still see the smoke spreading. And the smell of smoke is really bad. But a mall management representative just told me to stay open. It seems it will be cleared in an hour,” she said.

Shoppers were seen running out in panic after the fire broke out. Emergency workers from the mall were out in action, wearing masks.

Tweets spread news

The fire was further fuelled on Twitter with many people posting pictures and comments. “Fire at Dubai Mall!! I’m suffocating! EVERYONE IS RUNNING!!!” said a tweet.

Another shopper reported the fire alarms ringing while she was at a cafe. Some people, who had visited the mall when it was jam-packed with visitors during the first two days of the Eid, tweeted about they being happy that the fire did not break out during those hours of mad rush. The flood of tweets on the incident saw The Dubai Mall trending on the social networking site in the UAE.

The Dubai Media Office of the Dubai government also took to Twitter to announce that the fire at a restaurant in the mall was a minor one and had been contained. However, there were no official comments from the mall management.


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