Dubai: Some traumatised residents of the Tamweel Tower fire say they are planning to move out as soon as all formalities have been completed, to live in low-rise buildings or villas instead.
Half of the 34-storey mixed-use tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers was gutted by fire early on Sunday morning, rendering hundreds of residents homeless. They have been given temporary accommodation in various Dubai hotels since Sunday.
“Our landlord has told us to wait for the insurance before cancelLing our contracts. But as soon as that is done, we’ll move to another apartment but on the lower floors.
“Higher floors are no longer an option [for us] as it’s too risky,” Shariq Divker, who lived on the 10th floor, said.
A.K. from Pakistan, who rented a flat on the 21st floor, said that his apartment was luckily spared by the fire but had very minimal damage due to heat. Both flats beside him and the ones on top and below his flat were gutted. But this fact did not prevent him from deciding to move out.
“For us, most likely we will move to another apartment but we don’t want to be on the 21st floor any more. If we can afford a villa, then we’ll move to a villa. You can only get lucky once,” A.K. told Gulf News.
Other residents were still undecided as of Wednesday but there were those who said they were willing to move back in to the Tower in the future.
“We will gladly move back in after they have repaired the building, maybe after six months. But we will try to make a deal for a longer stay with the hotel we’re in for the meantime,” Jim Bishop, a resident who lost everything to the fire, said.
On Wednesday, clearing operations were still under way at the tower over 72 hours after the tragedy.
Authorities turned over the building to the Owners’ Association on Wednesday morning. Residents were allowed access but only to gather belongings as the building was still uninhabitable.
Building security have limited access to the building through the basement to ensure residents’ safety as unstable parts of the building that were gutted by fire get blown by the wind and fall on the ground.
Officials from the building’s insurance company will begin assessing the damage on Thursday, after an initial visit today, through a flat-by-flat check, an official from the Owners Association, who declined to be named, told Gulf News.
All residents have been urged to file a police report with Jebel Ali Police Station to itemise the extent of damage to their flats.
No one has been allowed to clean their flats as yet which worried some residents.
“I’m still very lucky I have very minimal damage from the fire but my house has three inches of water and it’s been there for the last four days. So I may not have fire damage but I’ll end up with water damage and it gets worse by the hour,” said a Pakistani resident.