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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 07/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) A major fire in a residential building in Dubai's Tecom area has left behind charred remains as entire flats were burnt down in a 'freak accident'. Smoke detectors set off fire alarms early on Saturday morning as residents ran to safety through the building stairwell.

"I was sleeping when the fire started. I opened the main door of my house after hearing a fire alarm and there was a lot of smoke," said Niraj Dugad, a resident.

The fire started at around 9.30am on the fourth floor of the building as it quickly spread across upper floors. Falling debris and glass pieces damaged several cars parked in the area.

"Most people were sleeping when the fire started. I knocked on the doors of many to inform them of the fire," added Niraj.

Cladding material used on the building melted and fell to the ground, adding to the damage as fire-fighting teams brought the blaze under control in two hours.

"Most of the cladding melted very quickly and fell off with the fire. A lot of pieces were burning even after falling on the ground," said Eidullah, an eye-witness who was near the building when the fire started.

For Mohammed Ameen who lives on the eighth floor of the building, there was no house to go back to.

"There is nothing left in my house. Luckily, I ran out with my passport and there was no one else in the house."

His house was among the many houses affected by the fire in the 12-storey building.

"I just saw my flat and it was completely burnt. The television, sofa set, clothes, bed, walls, everything is gone. There is no way I can live in that house," said Ameen.

Other families in the building were waiting with infants in cars parked away from the area. A resident who did not wish to be named blamed the accident on a gas cylinder illegally stored in the building's balcony.

Civil defence officials contained the fire at around 11.30am as paramedics treated a few people for minor injuries. Mahmood Hamed, spokesperson of the Dubai Civil Defense, said the front side of eight flats of the building were burnt in the fire, which started at 9.30.

He said that fire brigades and fire engines from three Civil Defence Station, Rashidiya, Al Quoz and Karama rushed to the site and brought the fire under control within an hour. Fire brigades evacuated 300 people from the building.

Few people suffered suffocation but they were treated at the site and nobody was injured.

Fire experts are still investigating into the cause of the fire.


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