Dubai fire: 2 building workers died trying to save others, residents and social workers say

Videos shared on social media show thick black smoke and flames leaping out of an apartment window

By SM Ayaz Zakir and Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 1:26 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 10:45 PM

Two workers of a building in Dubai, where a massive fire broke out, died as they tried to save others, eyewitnesses and social workers have said. They were among the 16 killed in the blaze in Al Ras on Saturday.

According to eyewitnesses, the men, who have been identified as Saliyakoondu Gudu and Imam Kasim - both from India - were on the ground floor of the building when the fire broke out, but rushed upstairs to help occupants out. The deceased were a carpenter and painter, respectively.

“As the fire engulfed the flats, the siren in the building got activated,” said a resident. “The duo, along with other people in the area, rushed to the fourth floor. Visibility was almost zero due to the smoke, but they made their way to the burning flat. While others who rushed up returned after being unable to see anything, the workers did not come back with them.”

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.

“The two men hail from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu,” said social worker Naseer Vadanappilly. “Their bodies have been identified by their colleagues. We are currently waiting for documentation from the Indian consulate so that their bodies can be repatriated back to India.”

According to a worker from Talal supermarket, “a loud bang” could be heard.

“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 was one among the handful of people who tried to rush into the building to help people out, but were unable to do anything because of the smoke.

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