Dubai: 16 dead, 9 injured as massive fire breaks out in residential building

Lack of compliance with security and safety requirements caused blaze, says civil defence

By Sahim Salim and Nasreen Abdulla

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A fire broke out in a residential building in Dubai on April 15, killing 16 and injuring 9 others. Photo: SM Ayaz Zakir
A fire broke out in a residential building in Dubai on April 15, killing 16 and injuring 9 others. Photo: SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 12:25 AM

Last updated: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 1:01 PM

Sixteen people died and nine sustained injuries as a massive fire ripped through the fourth floor of a residential building in Dubai. A Dubai Civil Defence spokesperson said the fire broke out in Al Ras on Saturday afternoon.

The Dubai Civil Defence Operations Room was first notified about the fire at 12.35pm. A team reached the spot within six minutes and began both evacuation and firefighting operations.

Teams from the Port Saeed and Hamriyah fire stations provided backup to the operations. The fire was brought under control at 2.42pm, after which the cooling operations were started.

Expressing his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased, the spokesperson said that urgent medical aid was provided to the injured even as firefighters worked to put out the blaze.

Preliminary investigations showed that lack of compliance with building security and safety requirements caused the fire, the spokesperson added. “Relevant authorities are conducting a comprehensive investigation to provide a detailed a report on the causes of the accident.”

Eyewitnesses said they saw flames billowing out of the building. Videos shared on social media show thick black smoke and flames leaping out of an apartment window as multiple fire engines and first responders reach the area in record time.

According to a worker in a shop in the building, they heard "a loud bang".

“We couldn’t figure out what was happening for a few minutes. But then we saw smoke and fire coming out of the window.”

The worker and a few people tried to rush into the building to help people out, but were unable to do anything because of the smoke. “There was smoke everywhere and we could not see anything,” he said. “So we decided to exit the building and wait for the police. Fire engines, firemen and police officers were at the spot within minutes. They brought a crane and started helping people. Their swift action helped save many lives.”

When contacted, social worker Naseer Vadanappilly told Khaleej Times he was at the mortuary. “Some bodies have been identified by relatives,” he said. “At least three people are in the hospital and their condition is stable.”

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