File: Raging fire in Ajman. For illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Ajman: The morning after a huge fire gutted at least three towers in the Ajman One residential cluster on Monday night, many tenants returned to the site in Ajman to view the extent of damage and begin the protracted process of rebuilding their lives.

Towers 6 to 8 had caught fire, and authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.

Brigadier Shaikh Sultan Bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Commander-in-Chief of Ajman Police,  said  five people sustained minor injuries and they were treated at the site. A pregnant woman  was rushed to Shaikh Khalifa Hospital as she suffered from dyspnea. 

Ajman Civil Defence tweeted early Tuesday morning that although the fire had been controlled, the cooling process was underway.

There were a few people with minor injuries who had been treated on site.  Many tenants have been put up in hotels but others said they could not find any rooms and had to stay with loved ones or sleep rough.

Many tenants said they fear they have lost everything. “My studio flat looks completely destroyed. I’ve lost my passport, my degrees, belongings – everything,” said Dr Shiraz Shaikh, an Indian tenant of Tower 6.

All of the several tenants who Gulf News spoke to said they had no fire insurance cover. Some tenants had rented their flats directly from owners of the freehold apartments while others had rented through agents.

Some owners and agents are outside the country or unreachable, the tenants said. 

“We’re trying to seek answers. Where do we go from here; what now?” said Sunil, another Tower 6 tenant from India.

Midday on Tuesday, fire trucks were still on scene though the fire was all but put out. However, some smoke was still rising from Tower 6. 

Municipality teams were cleaning up the debris with bulldozers and brooms. Two cars lay damaged below the tower while tenants stood watching their gutted homes. 

Fire alert raised

The operations room had received a call about the fire at 9.45pm. Civil Defence, rescue and ambulance teams rushed to the scene.

Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, rushed to Ajman to follow-up on the details of the firefighting operations, through the Command and Control Center at Ajman Central Operations Room at the Directorate General of Civil Defense in Ajman.

Bismillah, a Pakistani tenant of tower 8 in the complex said her three children rushed down 19 floors to safety. Tenants gathered around the complex as the buildings burned. "We are all very distraught. We have lost everything," she said.

Several units battled the huge blaze well into the night.

Flames are seen raging while the area has been cordoned off leading to huge traffic jam Ajman and Sharjah. Fire fighters were busy putting out the fire until late into the night. 

“My flat is completed gutted,” said another resident while wiping away tears. "I have lost everything including my documents and I have no place to stay.”

Tower 6 was gutted by midnight as the inferno continue to rage through the building.

It didn't appear to spread to any other building after tearing through tower 8, 7, and 6.

Many tenants were in tears as the building burned. Huge crowds that gathered to watch the incident dispersed somewhat after midnight but many people continued to take pictures and videos.

"All I have left are the clothes on my back, " said an Indian tenant of tower 6, who lived on floor 22. 

"My colleague is coming to pick me up. I am too disturbed to make sense of it all."

Buildings in the complex apparently untouched by the fire were empty as tenants had been evacuated.

"I am waiting to see if I will be let back in. Otherwise I will have to sleep on the beach tonight," said Katerina, a tower 3 tenant from Ukraine.

"I can't believe how quickly all this happened last.  I saw the fire from my window and as a precaution grabbed my documents and left the building. It was not a huge fire then."

Fire trucks, police and ambulance units remained on the site. Police kept pushing forward the cordoned area away from the complex as fiery debris rained down. 

People stood watching the flames well into the night.