(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Tenants of Al Tayer Tower, whose several floors were gutted five months ago, are left in the lurch as they have received no compensation for the losses incurred.
The real estate firm and the insurance company are washing their hands of the responsibilities, saying the fire did not occur because of their mistake. The 40-storey Al Tayer Tower went up in flames in April this year, leaving about 400 families homeless.
J.J., one of the tenants whose flat was completely destroyed, said they had moved from one office to another but nobody offered help. "It can't be that all our property perished and that is the end of the story without any compensation," he said. "I have moved on to find another flat near Ansar Mall but still want my compensation."
Mohammed, another resident, said he had reported to the Buhairah police station as they were told. The police took down their names and promised to help those people in the gutted block but that was the end.
"We didn't get anything and lost hope that we shall ever get anything," he said. "We are trying to rebuild our lives on our own."
Some tenants said they had asked the real estate company, which runs the building, about some possible help. The reply they received via email said: "We would like to inform you that the building is insured. Kindly contact the insurance company with regards to your concerns." It also said that any insurance compensation is not covered by the company.
Orient Insurance, the firm that cover the building, responded to the tenants' queries in a letter saying they had fully investigated the fire found no evidence of wrong-doing from the part of their insurance client."The fire did not arise out of the actions of our 'Insured', nor their Agent(s) or Servant(s), but rather by an unidentified third party, possibly a resident of the tower or a visitor," the letter read. "Whilst we sympathise with the losses you have suffered, there is no evidence to prove our Insured can be held liable for this unfortunate incident. In conclusion, liability is denied and we are therefore unable to assist you."A senior official from the company, who preferred to be identified in the papers only as Rashid, urged the tenants to understand that every one had lost in the fire which was occurred due to the mistake of one tenant.
"We can't give any compensation now," he said. "If the tenants claim to have lost thousands, we have also lost millions of dirhams as the building is now empty and all the expenses of repair are on our side. If the police had managed to arrest the tenant who threw down the cigarette butt, he would have been held liable to do the compensations to other tenants and ourselves. But all the police are saying is that an unknown person threw down a cigarette butt."
The police declined to comment on their investigations.
This was the third residential tower in Sharjah, which went on flames because of discarded cigarette butts. The blaze that destroyed Al Baker Tower 4 earlier this year and the 14-storey-Kuwait Tower two years ago were found to have started in the same way. Around 125 families were displaced as a result of the Al Baker blaze, while 200 were left homeless after the Kuwait Tower was gutted.
His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, had earlier compensated Dh50,000 to the tenants of the gutted Al Baker tower 4 in February this year.
Abdullah bin Khadim, the Director of Sharjah Charity which helped to distribute the cash, said they had no plans about similar compensation in this case.
"We didn't get any order to compensate any losses this time. These fires are too frequent," he said.