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Residents outside Golden Sands opposite their cordoned off building in Al Mankhool area. Image Credit:

Dubai: Almost 36 hours after a deadly gas explosion killed one and seriously injured three others at a residential building in Bur Dubai, residents were allowed back into their homes on Monday.

The gas explosion happened in Al Ghurair Building in Al Mankhool, Bur Dubai, on Saturday evening. Three people, including a tenant and two gas technicians, are at Rashid Hospital.

The residents of 15 apartments on the sixth floor where the blast occurred were not allowed to go back as the building management continues to carry out detailed safety checks on that floor. The residents were provided with alternative accommodation by the building management after the blast.

Only the wife of the victim VS, who died in the tragedy, was allowed to go in briefly into her apartment to retrieve her essentials and identity papers. The victim, VS, 47, an Indian expatriate from Lucknow and an assistant general manager in a Dubai firm was caught unawares in the corridor when he was returning with his daughter from a coaching class. Residents from the sixth floor said as the blast occurred, VS was hit by a flying door and died of massive internal injuries. He is survived by his wife and two daughters aged 11 and 16. The Indian consulate has extended consular help to the family.

“We were told that the piped gas supply has been completely shut off and the management will provide us electric stoves for cooking. For now, we are relieved, we get to change clothes, get hold of credit cards, passports, clothes and other essentials. I had not changed my clothes for three days. We also want to help out our fellow residents who cannot return to their homes,” said one tenant from the fourth floor.

The residents of sixth floor are also pleading that they be allowed to retrieve their belongings.

Victim on ventilator

KS, 32, the gas blast victim from apartment 607 continues to be on the ventilator but her condition is stated to be serious but stable at the Rashid Hospital Trauma Care.

Her brother Arshad Katchi told Gulf News on Monday: “The doctor says my sister has received 70 per cent burns. Her face is swollen but we are thankful to Almighty that her condition is stable.”

The family is upset that no one called them from Al Ghurair building management.

“We are surprised that although the blast occurred in my sister’s flat for no fault of hers, no one from the building management called my brother-in-law MS, the husband of the victim. All other residents were provided with alternative accommodation but MS was not offered any accommodation. Let alone accommodation, they did not even call him to offer words of apology.”

The victim’s mother arrived from Mumbai on Sunday night and the entire family, including other siblings are by her bedside praying for her recovery.

There was no update available on the condition of the two gas technicians who were also injured in the blast.

Eye witnesses recount the horror

Recalling the incident, a neighbour of the victim who is fighting for her life in Rashid Hospital said: “I would never wish my worst enemy hear the bone chilling explosion we heard. I rushed out and took the victim down to the ground floor. She was conscious and was walking and must have had internal injuries. We are all praying for her recovery.”

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Residents outside Golden Sands opposite their cordoned off building in Al Mankhool area.

Another sixth floor tenant said: “We were in a flat three doors away from the blast. All the doors on the floor flew off, the false ceiling outside caved in. The wall of our bedroom collapsed and we just rushed out. My mother is 80-years old. Until we got the alternative accommodation we were sitting on the pavement absolutely dazed. My wife had injuries from glass shards. We need help.”

Students unable to attend school

Residents wanted schools to know why their wards were unable to attend school for the last two days. “Many children study in Indian curriculum schools like JSS, Gems group schools and other such institutions. We are unable to call the schools and request these institutions to look up the address of their wards and understand why they have taken leave of absence. With the way things are it might take time for them to resume school,” said a worried father.

Was it negligence?

“For at least 20 days, we had intermittent gas supply in many apartments, especially on the sixth floor. About ten days ago, there was a very strong gas smell in the entire building. Many of us rushed out in panic but the security at the reception assured us that some maintenance was going on,” a tenant said.

Consulate help

Indian Consul General Vipul has assured help to the affected residents. “We are in touch with the family of the male victim who died in the blast . Our deepest condolences to his surviving family. We are committed to providing all consular help to the family. Our consul representative visited the residents and is looking into individual cases for help . We also sent a representative to meet the victims at Rashid Hospital,” said Vipul.

Those in any kind of need can call the Indian consulate help line: +971-56-5463903

Hospital statement

In a statement released Monday, Rashid Hospital said that its trauma centre was notified around 7.30pm on Saturday that three critical cases and one non-critical case were on the way due to a gas explosion in a residential area.

One critical patient passed away shortly after arrival. The other two patients, who were in critical condition, are being treated in the ICU's burns section. One patient has 45 per cent burns while the other has 70 per cent burns. The non-critical case received treatment for her injured arm and was discharged.

The residents of 15 apartments on the sixth floor where the blast occurred were not allowed to go back as the building management continues to carry out detailed safety checks on that floor. The residents were provided with alternative accommodation by the building management after the blast.