We grabbed our phones and rushed down: Residents of fire-hit Sharjah tower
Many tenants have been accommodated in a hotel apartment in Sharjah's Al Taawun area.
A day after a massive blaze tore through a residential tower in Sharjah's Al Nahda, its residents are still coming to terms with the loss of their homes overnight.
A three-hour firefighting operation mounted by the Sharjah Civil Defence that involved teams from several stations brought the blaze at Abbco Tower under control by 11.55am on Tuesday. (Photos: High-rise tower catches fire in Sharjah)
Over 250 families were evacuated from the 49-storey building as a result of the fire. About 12 residents sustained injuries, of which three had to be hospitalised.
"We managed to grab phones and debit cards."
At the site on Wednesday, an Indian couple recalled the ordeal, saying they did not realise their tower was on fire until someone from a neighbouring building alerted them.
Photo: Sharanya and Abhinav
Confused and scared, Abhinav and Sharanya couple did not know how to react at first. The building's fire alarm jolted them into rushing down from their 33rd floor. All they managed to grab were their phones and debit cards.
They said they spent the night at a relative's house.
"All my documents are inside'
Another Indian tenant of the building, Mohammad, said he is in the country looking for a job.
Photo: Mohammed with brother Munir.
"My documents are all inside, all I have is some money and my phone."
Many tenants like Mohammed and his brother have been accommodated in a hotel apartment in Sharjah's Al Taawun area. They arrived at the site early on Wednesday, hoping to go back into their apartments to retrieve some important documents and belongings.
#AbbcoTower #fire: Building resident Edgardo Valentino was about to sleep when the fire broke out on Tuesday night. He says the sound of people screaming alerted him to the blaze and he quickly grabbed all his documents and rushed down the stairs. pic.twitter.com/fsl57GlFqj- Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) May 6, 2020
"My cat is stuck in my apartment on the 20th floor"
A 21-year-old Gabriel LA Victoria is despondent, not just because of the mayhem caused by a fire in his residential apartment but his little cat is still stuck inside.
Photo: Gabriel LA Victoria
"My one-year-old cat Khalisi is stuck in my apartment on the 20th floor. I am really worried for her. The area has been cordoned off and nobody can go inside anytime soon. Earlier when we rushed down, we didn't think the fire would be this serious. But this way beyond what we had imagined. "
Gabriel's 44-year-old with whom he lives, had an equally tough time running down from the 20th floor. He adds, "We laughing and planning to cook our dinner when we heard the alarm. So I just grabbed some important documents and ran down. Luckily, there was no stampede, but a lot of smoke on the stairscase and quite hazy. When we came down there were firefighters and civil defense teams. That's when we understood how serious the situation was." Gabriel and his aunt spent the night at a hotel accommodation in Al Nahda, Sharjah.
"All I knew is that I have to run for my life"
Photo: Nigerian resident Kenneth Onyek
Initial reports seems to suggest that the, building is owned by an Omani national. However, speaking to more residents from ground zero, Nigerian resident Kenneth Onyek, who was sleeping when the fire broke, said, "I was so confused initially. I was in deep sleep. I think a friend of mine woke me up. All I knew is that I have to run for my life. I just got out of my apartment on 7th floor even without carrying my Emirates ID".
"I extremely worried about my documents"
Another Sharjah expat who works as an electrician in Global village says he is jobless as the global village has been closed due to the pandemic. He said, "I have just the clothes that I am wearing. That's it. My side of the building has been burnt. So I extremely worried about my documents lying inside, as it is I don't have a job".
"There was smoke all around and people were in shock"
A 29-year-old Kenyan resident, who lives on 33rd floor with her sister said, "My neighbours were asking everyone to move out. So the first instinct was to head for the elevator but we soon realised we needed to take the staircase. But some elderly people and children were really slow while getting down the stairs. There was smoke all around and people were in shock", she averred.
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