UAE

Sharjah building fire: Some residents allowed to return to their flats

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Residents of the 38-storey residential tower were evacuated after it caught fire on Thursday night.
Image Credit: Aghaddir Ali/Gulf News

Sharjah: Some residents of the 38-storey building in Sharjah’s Al Nahda, which caught fire on Thursday, have been allowed to return to their apartments, a top official told Gulf News today.

Five people were killed while 17 others suffered suffocation in the fire. The deceased included an Indian man and woman, one woman from the Philippines, a Kenyan man and a Bangladeshi man. One of the deceased had jumped off the building to escape the fire.

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Following the incident, 156 residents of the building were given temporary hotel accommodations. However, Major General Saif Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, today said some of these residents have begun to return to their flats, while the rest are still being put up in hotels.

“The return process will be gradual with due process being followed,” he said.

Following Tursday’s fire, the Sharjah Police Operations Room received the fire alert at 10.50pm. Teams were immediately dispatched to the area to put out the flames.

Resident accounts

An Egyptian couple, who lives on the 26th floor, told Gulf News that when they heard the fire alarm going off, they rushed out of their home and ran down the stairs as they could see smoke on the floor.

“When we reached the ground floor, we saw firefighters and emergency crew in front of us. They had reached the site so quickly and helped us move to a safe place, they said.”

An Uzbek woman from the 11th floor said: “I saw only smoke, no blaze. Firefighters helped us move quickly downstairs. They also used a ladder to help residents move out and checked if anyone was trapped inside.”

Residents of the building were evacuated safely in record time.

The building consists of 33 residential floors and five parking levels, with each floor having eight flats. It has three blocks (A, B and C). The fire broke out in Block B.

Cause of the fire

Major General Al Shamsi explained that as per the preliminary reports of the criminal laboratory, some waste lying in the hallway caught fire, resulting in the flames to rapidly rise up and spread to the residential apartments.

He emphasised the importance of taking preventive and safety measures, both by property owners or tenants, to avoid such mishaps. Preserving lives and property is a shared responsibility that everyone should take seriously and responsibly, he added.