Dubai fire: UAE tenants wait to return home

Dubai fire: UAE tenants wait to return home

Following a devastating fire which left 16 dead and nine injured on Saturday afternoon in an apartment building in Dubai’s Al Ras, tenants are having to find new places to temporarily shelter themselves.

“We are out on streets since we were evacuated at 3pm,” one tenant told the Khaleej Times.

Another tenant commented: “[Those occupying the] first, second and third floors escaped by the stairs, or slide by a rope tied to the grills of their balconies.

“People residing on the fourth floor were unable to, as the corridors were filled with smoke.”

Authorities have advised tenants to stay elsewhere, resulting in many turning to public buildings and neighbours for support. Mosques and shops in the vicinity of the fire-hit apartment building have become temporary housing for those affected by the fire. Local restaurants are providing food at minimal prices and some establishments are giving away tea and other drinks for free.

For eight Bangladeshi nationals, their manager has booked a hotel room with access to basic amenities.

“We take turns and rest for a few hours at the hotel. Four of us are out on the lawn while the other four take a nap or use the washroom for basic needs,” said Jasim, one of the nationals.

The community has rallied together, sharing vehicles and space. Some residents have been allowed to enter the building to gather belongings.

“I gained entry to my flat accompanied by a policeman after showing my identity card. I got my passports and important documents along with my clothes and necessary items that are required for daily use,” added Jasim.

A report is now underway to determine the cause of the fire. Many regulation organisations have called for an improved standard of building materials.