Dubai: A huge fire broke out at the Lamcy Plaza shopping mall in Dubai on Friday was contained by the Civil Defence team within two hours with no injuries reported.
Thick black smoke billowing out of the building could be seen from across the city but the quick response from Dubai Civil Defence and Dubai Police teams averted a disaster as they effectively controlled the raging flames in the mall building.
The mall, which had only a few visitors when the fire started shortly after 11am, was immediately evacuated by the mall management. Firefighters battled the flames for about two hours until it was contained. It took the teams three extra hours for the cooling down operations. No one was injured, said a Civil Defence official.
The mall will remain closed until further notice.
New Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief Major-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri and Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director-General of the Dubai Civil Defence, arrived on the scene and supervised the operations ensuring safety of people.
Brig Al Matroushi told Gulf News: “It was a big fire and it started from the top of the four-storey building. Six fire stations responded to the fire call. Part of the mall was burnt and we don’t know about the financial losses yet.”
Thick smoke prevented firefighters from entering the mall in the beginning, but later they identified the source of the fire and they went inside to extinguish the fire, he said.
“The fire lasted for two hours and we controlled it. The cooling operations continued for another three hours. Nobody has been injured,” Brig Al Matroushi said.
Fire experts from Dubai Police will inspect the site to identify the cause of the fire, he added.
A mobile hospital was also set up at the scene along with ambulances and seven big water tankers of Dubai Civil Defence.
Dubai Civil Defence received the emergency call about the fire at Lamcy Plaza at 11.17am. The fire was fully contained by 4pm, according to Civil Defence officials.
Dubai Media Office tweeted: “Lamcy Plaza fire fully contained by Dubai Civil Defence and no injuries reported. The mall has been evacuated to ensure the safety of all and facilitate firefighting operations.”
The fire is believed to have started in a fan of the air-conditioning unit on the rooftop of the mall, Civil Defence sources said. Investigations will continue in the coming days to determine the cause, they said.
“The fire started on the ceiling and then spread. Nobody was hurt. Dubai Police rescue teams were present at the scene to provide support to Civil Defence teams,” Major-General Al Merri told Gulf News.
“The building has flammable materials and clothes shops, which helped spread the fire. The reason behind the fire is still unknown. An investigation will be conducted,” he added.
Tim Jones, chief operations officer of Lamcy Plaza, told Gulf News, “There were only a few shoppers when the fire started and the evacuation went smoothly and nobody was hurt. Dubai Civil Defence teams came in a few minutes and controlled the situation. The fire was mainly in the food court area.”
Electricity supply to the building was cut off during firefighting while the police controlled the traffic and kept onlookers at a safe distance.
Owners and employees of the outlets in the mall waited outside not knowing what had happened to their shops and goods.
For hairdresser Princess Grace, who works in a beauty salon in the mall, said everything happened fast. “I was inside the salon with other colleagues when the loud alarm went off. We ran outside as security guards asked us to evacuate the place,” Grace told Gulf News.
“It was a scary and terrifying moment as everyone was running for their lives from smoke and fire. We went out and I checked out on my colleagues. Thank God, we are all safe!”
Jose George, 23, Filipino, told Gulf News that he was inside his clothes shop when he heard the security guard asking everyone to leave the mall.
“Our shop was on the other part of the mall on the ground floor. I locked the shop’s door before running out with others. I could smell the smoke. I was surprised when I came out and saw the flames coming from the other side of the mall,” George said.
Ameen Ali, 31, from Egypt said he was shopping when the alarm went off.
“I was buying a shirt when I heard the alarm. I thought it’s by mistake but it continued. I was told to go outside the mall because of a fire. I went out and saw heavy smoke coming from the food court area,” he said.