Dubai: A minor fire broke out in an apartment in International City in Dubai on Tuesday night, leaving its seven tenants, including five Filipinas with virtually nothing.
No one was hurt in the blaze that ravaged the bedroom of a first floor flat in the Greece Cluster of International City at around 6pm, witnesses said. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire immediately.
Investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fire. A comment from Dubai Civil Defence is awaited.
Five of the fire victims are Filipinas. Three are working in Dubai as housemaids while two are visit visa holders.
Cristina M., one of the tenants, said she was in the hallway of the building when the fire erupted.
“I was outside the flat when I noticed our Wifi got disconnected. So when I entered the flat, there was smoke everywhere. Then the bedroom was on fire,” Cristina, 24, who is looking for a job in Dubai, told Gulf News.
“We suspect that the make-shift lamp of one of my housemates must have overheated and caused the fire. But we don’t know for sure as of yet.”
None of them were able to salvage their belongings.
“I couldn’t save anything. My passport, laptop, my shoes, all my belongings were there,” she said.
Arrangements were made for the five Filipinas to take refuge at the shelter at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Al Ghusais on Tuesday night, Labour Attache Felicitas Bay confirmed to Gulf News. But that changed as one of Cristina’s friends who also lives in International City took them in for the night so they could rest.
“Our friend gave us clothes to wear and some toiletries. We hope to be able to go back to the apartment this afternoon to check if we can get our belongings. We have no money, no wallets, nothing,” said Cristina who is celebrating her 24th birthday next Tuesday.
Philippine Consul-General Raymund Paul Cortes said the consulate will extend all possible help to the fire victims. Cortes met with leaders of the community including Josie Conlu at 10pm on Tuesday to discuss how best to assist their compatriots.
“We will coordinate as a community. The consulate extends assistance as appropriate to all those who request and will reach out to the community in support of our Filipino nationals in distress,” Cortes told Gulf News.