Ajman: Firefighters are sifting through the rubble of a burned-out villa adjacent to the Abdullah Al Rumaithi mosque in Ajman to determine the cause of one of the most heart-wrenching fire tragedies in recent memory.
Six people died when a massive fire broke out in a villa near Al Hamidiya area in Ajman on Tuesday.
I was shocked to go outside and hear the screams getting louder. I saw the villa on fire, I saw the flames
An Emirati mother was burned to death while her three daughters aged 11, 14, 17, died of suffocation when their villa went up in flames at around 8:45am, Brig Saleh Al Matroushi, director general of Ajman Civil Defence, told Gulf News.
Two housemaids the family had employed were also killed in the fire.
Firefighters were able to rescue the woman’s 15-year-old son from the burning villa, Al Matroushi said.
The scene of the tragedy was eerie at noon on Tuesday as a lone Ajman police officer kept guard over the burned-out home.
A two-storey gash in one corner of the home revealed a blackened interior that was subjected to such intensity from flames that the blades of large air fans hanging from the ceiling had drooped like flower petals.
A charred front door of the villa lay on a patch of grass in the front yard after being ripped from its hinges and thrown near an abandoned children’s swing set.
Shattered glass was strewn across the brick walkways leading from the main iron gates of the villa compound walls. A pile of shoes were scattered on the steps at the main entrance to the home.
Humaid Abdul Hakil, 15, lives in the neighbourhood and is a friend of Amar who survived the blaze.
“I am very sad for this family. They have lived here for three years and they are very good,” said Hakil. “Amar prays at the mosque five times a day and he is a quiet, polite boy. I am waiting for my chance to visit to him in the hospital. Amar’s relatives are also going to the hospital.”
Hakil said that Amar is a Grade 10 pupil at the Rashid Bin Humaid School.
Umm Humaid, who lives next door, told Gulf News that she “heard screams outside around 9 am but she thought the children were playing outside. I was shocked to go outside and hear the screams getting louder. I saw the villa on fire, I saw the flames.”
The woman said she felt miserable that she couldn’t call authorities sooner to bring help to the scene quicker.
At a nearby supermarket, the Asian owner Saleh Khan remembered the family as a fine addition to the neighbourhood and said the deaths were tragic during Ramadan. “They were a nice family and didn’t bother anyone in the neighbourhood,” he said. “They were very generous, they helped poor people.”
Jasem Abdullah Hussain is also a neighbour who knew the family.
When he returned to his home in the early morning and saw fire engines and ambulances, his heart sank. “It was a horrible scene and is a bigger tragedy because Ajman has never seen such an incident before. I feel sorry for Amar because he is now alone and will miss his family,” he said. “We ask that their souls be blessed and that they will meet in paradise.”
Relatives and friends of the family gathered in the late afternoon for funeral services in Ajman.