Sharjah building fire leaves over 80 families homeless
A massive fire destroyed 10 floors of one of the two blocks of a residential tower in Al Taawun area of Sharjah on Monday afternoon, leaving more than 80 families homeless in a matter of two hours.
The fire forced evacuation of both blocks of Al Hafeet Tower 2.
While four persons suffered from smoke inhalation and were treated by rescuers on the scene, a 55-year-old woman was rushed to Al Kuwaiti Hospital after her condition worsened.
Brigadier Abdullah Saeed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence, said the police were alerted around 2pm and the firebrigades reached the scene in less than five minutes. It took firefighters from Sharjah, Dubai and Ajman about two hours to put out the fire.
The firefighters responded quickly and this helped prevent the fire from spreading to nearby residential buildings, he said.
The blaze destroyed 10 floors in one block of the building while the front block remained safe though the residents of both blocks were evacuated as a safety measure.
The police and forensic experts of the Sharjah Civil Defence have cordoned off the area and will carry out investigations to determine the cause of the fire.
“As per our primary investigation, we believe the fire started either on the second or seventh floor,” Brig Al Suwaidi said.
Senior Civil Defence official Khalid Obaid Al Shamsi praised the police and rescue teams for evacuating the residents as well as removing the cars in the parking lot quickly. He said all cars in the lot had been safely removed and no car was gutted this time.
He said some of the tenants faced difficulties as they inhaled smoke and the rescuers treated five cases, including a four-year-old boy recovered shortly after. However, the condition of a 55-year-old woman turned worse and she was rushed to Al Kuwaiti Hospital.
Twitter was abuzz with updates on the fire earlier.
April 4, 2013 — Fire guts a flat in Sharjah’s Abu Shagara, leaving 18 people in need of first aid, a six-month-old baby in hospital and one family homeless.
March 4, 2013 — Bangladeshi workers receive moderate burnss in a fire accident that occurred in a metal smelting company located in Sharjah Industrial area.
February 13, 2013 — Warehouse fire damages goods worth Dh1 million in Sharjah.
November 18, 2012 — Fire damages 34-storey Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT).
April 28, 2012 — A 40y-storey high Al Tayer Tower gutted in Sharjah, families stranded, 45 cars damaged.
AlexanderMcNabb tweeted: “An explosion has torn out part of a building in Sharjah’s Al Nahda area. Loads of fire crew attending. Hope nobody hurt.”
“Big fire in Sharjah near Tawun mall, hope no casualties pray for everyone’s safety!” said Safiya_aj.
Jasmeen Yusuf said she is considering moving from the area after the incident. “Another #fire in #sharjah, Al Taawun area. No causalities yet. So close to home. Its the 4th one in 1 year. Need to shift. The area is way too fire prone.”
Fire alarms ignored
In a recent survey, it was revealed that one in three GCC residents ignore fire alarms and are unaware of the locations of fire exits showing a worrying lack of fire safety awareness. Conducted by You Gov, on behalf of American consumer goods and engineering company Honeywell which produces fire safety systems, the survey included more than 2,600 GCC residents.
The study found that more than half of those polled — 53 per cent — were unaware of the need to test fire safety equipment, while 48 per cent had never taken part in a fire drill. In the UAE alone, 26 per cent of the surveyors said that they “did not know where the fire exit in their residence building is”.
Residents and the Sharjah Department of Civil Defence have attributed the increasing number of fire accidents in flats and residential buildings in the emirate to barbecuing, throwing of cigarette butts and smoking of shishas in balconies.
According to the Civil Defence, over 153 fire accidents occurred in flats, houses and villas in various parts of Sharjah last year. An investigation revealed that most of the accidents happened due to negligence of residents.
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