Video: Fire in Dubai Marina building put out
Dubai - Video footage showed flames engulfing the lower backside of the 14-storey residential building.
Residents of the Zen Tower in Dubai Marina have praised the efforts of Dubai Civil Defence and the quick thinking of building security in evacuating and dousing a fire, which broke out in the building on Sunday morning.
Slow moving traffic in the area blocked roads in the evening as well after authorities closed nearby roads for the firefighting operation.
At about 10:00am the Dubai Civil Defence control room received a call about the fire and reached the site within six minutes. Despite the strong winds and dusty conditions, they managed to get the blaze under control after 45 minutes.
A representative from the Pristine Owners Association, which manages the building, told Khaleej Times that they expect residents won't be allowed back into the building for at least four days. He said the association is in touch with the authorities concerned to ascertain when residents can go back to their apartments to assess the damage caused by the fire.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the scene, a Dubai resident (who asked to remain unnamed) said he got a call from his friend who lives in the building.
"I was on my way to collect him for work when the call came. He was inside when the alarm went off but they test the fire alarms a lot, so not everyone moved immediately."
But then the security team came on over the building's speaker system and announced that it was not a test, he said.
"We have to give props to the security of the building as they got people moving. My friend lives on the fifth floor and he said there was smoke in the hallway. The elevators were shut off so they took the stairs. After they reached the lobby there was smoke there too so everyone exited through the basement. By all accounts the Police, Civil Defence and security guys cleared the building pretty quick."
Video footage showed flames engulfing the lower backside of the 14-storey residential building, adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Road, before quickly spreading to the higher floors.
Zen Tower resident Michael Buchta told Khaleej Times he was at work when he received a video from his friend at about 12pm, alerting him of a fire in his building.
"He actually forwarded me the video from Khaleej Times website. I couldn't believe it. I rushed from my office to the building because my cat is still inside, but obviously for safety reasons they didn't let me in."
Living on the 8th floor of the tower for about 6 months, Buchta said this is one thing he didn't prepare for.
"You know you think of those situations in your head 'what would you do if...', this is one scenario I didn't imagine happening. I am just hearing bits of news from different people but I think Dubai Civil Defence usually help evacuate all animals and bring them to local shelters. I hope that's the case with my cat."
While on site at 1pm, Dubai Police and representatives from the Zen Tower were directing all residents to write their name on a piece of paper before boarding a number of RTA buses which were on standby. All the residents were transported to the Ghaya Grand Hotel in IMPZ where they were given refuge following the blaze.
Although several cars nearby were damaged by falling debris from the blaze, initial reports the Dubai Media Office Twitter handle said no casualties were reported.
During the cooling down operations, Brigadier Abdul Rahim bin Shafi'a, director of Al Barsha Police Station also confirmed to Khaleej Times that all people staying in the Tower were evacuated safely.
"Now we are just re-checking the whole building with Dubai Civil Defence to make sure it is empty. It may take several hours but the safety of residents is our main concern."
As yet, the cause of the fire remains unknown.
5 trapped inside building during blazeFive people trapped in a blaze that broke out in Zen Tower were rescued just in time by the quick-acting Dubai Civil Defence fire fighters, on Sunday.
"We received information at 10.44am that a fire had erupted at the 15-storey Zen Tower," said Major-General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, director of the Dubai Civil Defence. Fire brigades and engines from Al Marsa, Al Barasha, Al Shuhada and Al Rashidiyah, Al Qouz and Dubai Parks arrived at 10:50am and managed to evacuate the building.
The fire brigades evacuated the pets as well, and transferred them to the civil defence animal shelter. Brigadier Rashid Bu Falasa, assistant director of Dubai Civil Defence for fire fighting and rescue, said they coordinated with security staff for the rescue and evacuation.
KT Nano EditRising to the occasion
Dubai seems to have perfected the art of crisis management. With strategies well in place, the Dubai Civil Defence fought the fire, despite the sandstorm fanning it. Proper planning and training enabled the fire force to rise to the occasion to put out the flames in record time, without fatalities. Hats off to the department for dealing with the situation in the most humane manner, even under stress. That's working Dubai style!