UAE | Emergencies

Worker relives Al Quoz cylinder blast horror

Labourer recalls how he was licked by flames before running for his life as 12 were injured

  • By Faisal Masudi and Bassma Jandaly, Gulf News
  • Published: 21:20 October 30, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Faisal Masudi/Gulf News
  • Abdul Shakur suffered burns to his face and arms in the fire at a workers’ accommodation in Al Quoz on Sunday.
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Dubai: A worker who narrowly survived a gas cylinder blast that seriously wounded labourers in a Dubai accommodation has spoken of his ordeal.

Bangladeshi Abdul Shakur, 30, suffered burns to his face and arms as he was knocked down by the explosion following a kitchen fire in the Al Quoz housing facility on Sunday night.

Sources on Monday said six workers were seriously hurt, fighting for their lives in Rashid Hospital, while six more suffered moderate injuries in the incident.

Shakur remembers the “screams and shouting” that gripped the complex following the blaze.

He said: “I was in my room when I heard ‘fire, fire!’ I stepped out and saw the kitchen in flames. People were shouting, screaming. I had no time to think, I rushed to the stairs next to the kitchen to go down one level.

“As I turned into the stairwell, there was an enormous eruption and I was hit by something and fell. I got up and saw flames on me. I just ran after that.”

Shakur added: “I’m not sure what happened next, or how the fire on me was put out. I just ran out, there were many of us sitting on the road, wailing in pain.

“I sat down and only then did I start feeling my face burning. It was horrible, I passed out after and woke up in hospital.

“My family keeps crying even though I told them ‘it’s ok, don’t worry.’”

Shakur is among 450-500 low-income workers from the Indian subcontinent that share about 130 rooms in the facility, a property manager of the complex said.

About a dozen injured were rushed to Rashid Hospital, with four to six of them admitted in intensive care, sources said Monday, adding that the seriously wounded had a 50 per cent survival chance.

Others are recovering in the burns unit at the hospital.

According to workers, authorities have taken a blasted-out cooking gas cylinder for investigations.

The workers were preparing dinner when the explosion tore through a kitchen on the second floor and punched a gaping hole into an adjacent room, they said.

“The workers were cooking their dinner and they did not turn on the fan in the kitchen; the stove was near the gas cylinders which caused the fire,” a manager from the contracting company employing the workers said.

All the injured workers are said to be from India and Bangladesh.

The contracting company manager told Gulf News on Monday: “I talked to the doctor and he said that their chance of survival is 50 per cent. We thank Allah that no one died in the explosion and we hope that the injured workers will survive.”

Workers who live in nearby accommodation said that they had heard a huge explosion. Emergency responders had cordoned off the area to tend to the wounded, eyewitnesses said.

Comments (1)

  1. Added 09:35 October 31, 2012

    Reading from gulf news the lack of safety precaution not adhered to, cooking should not be permitted all places of the labour accommodation. Authorities should permit the cooking area where fire exitnguishers and first aid is provided. Strict safety guidelines to be inculcated to the workers and camp in charge. Civil Defence should do random inspection of these labour camps for their safety and tyo check that fire hazards installations are functioning. Put out the fire before it spreads.

    k.p,gopalan, bangluru, India

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