Dubai fire kills 16: What caused the deadly blaze? Authorities issue statement

Timely first-aid offered at the site by the civil defence saved many lives, eyewitnesses say

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A Staff Reporter

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File photo. For illustrative purposes only.
File photo. For illustrative purposes only.

Published: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 12:52 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 10:17 PM

A preliminary report has been issued about the cause of a deadly fire that claimed 16 lives and injured nine tenants on Saturday afternoon. The fire broke out in an apartment in a four-storey building in Al Ras.

Preliminary investigations showed that a “lack of compliance with building security and safety requirements caused the fire”, a spokesperson for the civil defence said. He did not reveal the exact nature of the violations, but said relevant authorities are conducting a comprehensive investigation to provide a detailed a report on the causes of the accident.


A Dubai Civil Defence team had reached the spot in under six minutes of being notified about the blaze. Multiple teams put out the fire in under two hours. Timely first aid offered at the site by the civil defence saved many lives, eyewitnesses said.

Outdated equipment?

According to a restaurant worker in the adjacent building, the firefighting equipment was outdated.


“The fire was in one end of the building, but we could see smoke billow from an open window at the other end. This means that the entire floor was covered with the thick, black smoke. The detectors and alarm did not go off until the smoke fully spread,” he claimed.

It isn’t clear how old the building is, but residents said it could be up to 25 years. Almost two years ago, renovation work had been done on the building. “New ceilings were installed, and the interiors were spruced up a bit,” said a resident. “However, at the time, the firefighting system was not updated. I think if they had paid attention to the fire systems, this tragedy could have been avoided.”

There are several building safety rules in Dubai, including those around construction and fire safety, among others.

Tenants of the building told Khaleej Times that they often encountered the problem of their ACs heating up. According to initial reports, a short circuit in an AC is said to have caused the fire.

A worker from Talal supermarket, located on the ground floor of the building, said that teams of investigators had visited the building early on Sunday morning. Investigations continue to take place to ascertain the detailed cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, social workers have confirmed that the bodies of 16 deceased people have been identified and paperwork is underway to repatriate their bodies.

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