While no injuries were reported in the incident, the interiors of the mall were almost completely gutted. The security guards who were inside the centre suffered from suffocation caused by the smoke. However, they were all evacuated safely by Civil Defence teams.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Colonel Salih Saeed Al Matroushi, Director-General of Ajman Civil Defence said, "the operations room of the civil defence had received a phone call from a security guard of another building in the vicinity at 7am, saying flames and smoke were seen coming out from the mall premises."
Firefighters from Ajman industrial area fire station reached the site within barely three minutes as the site is located close to the fire station. The flames were spreading quickly but the firefighters managed to extinguish the fire in some 20 minutes.
Al Matroushi said negligence of the shopping centre's management was possibly to be blamed for the incident. Fire safety equipment, including fire alarm system, water hose pipes, and fire extinguishers were not functioning when the fire broke out. The emergency exits in the mall were not accessible too, Al Matroushi said.
To add to it, goods containing flammable materials were piled up near the main electricity transmitter, the official pointed out. He said this was a criminal act, for which the managerial staff of the centre was been referred to Ajman police for investigations.
An Iranian businessman who owns the centre is presently reportedly lodged in jail for allegedly issuing dud cheques.Fire experts are also probing whether the fire was a "deliberate act".
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