20231704 deira fire
The building in Deira that caught fire and claimed 16 lives last Saturday. Image Credit: Anas Thacharpadikkal/Gulf News

Dubai: One of the 16 people who died in the building fire in Dubai on Saturday was an Egyptian father of three who recently flew into the UAE with dreams to make it big here, according to a family member.

Walid Salaheldin Sedik Elgamal, 51, came to Dubai a few months ago and had started working as a driver from January, his brother-in-law, Haytham Khamis, told Gulf News on Wednesday.

Four days after his brother-in-law passed away, Khamis was coordinating the paperwork for repatriating Elgamal’s mortal remains to Alexandria.

He spoke to Gulf News from the office of Indian social worker Naseer Vatanappally who was coordinating with various entities for flying Elgamal on his last journey home before the Eid holidays began.

It will be a sad Eid for Elgamal’s family which includes his mother, wife and three daughters aged nine, seven and three.

“I don’t know how my sister is going to handle this,” said Khamis.

He said his nieces have not realised that their father had passed away. Neither had their grandmother been informed about the tragedy.

“His mother is a heart patient. I’m worried about what would happen when she gets to know about this,” said Khamis.

Better life

Khamis said Elgamal used to work in Kuwait as a procurement officer for almost two decades. “Then he went back to Egypt with his family and wanted to do some project there. But just in a few months, he realised the lifestyle was not the same and he wanted to come back to the Gulf region to provide a better life for his family.”

“Elgamal felt the job of a driver will be of help to learn more about Dubai. He thought he can slowly set up his base here and bring his family also. All those dreams have perished,” Khamis lamented.

Sixteen people, including Elgamal, passed away and nine others were injured after a fire swept through the fourth floor of a building in Al Ras on Saturday afternoon. Dubai Civil Defence, which rescued many residents, who had got trapped inside the building, attributed the fire to lack of compliance with building security and safety requirements.

A detailed investigation report is expected to be announced soon.