Abu Dhabi: A fire broke out in a 16-storey residential building yesterday, but no one was injured, police said.
A short circuit in the air-conditioning system is believed to have caused the fire in the building located on Khalifa Street at 12.30pm, according to Lt Colonel Mohammad Abdullah Al Nuaimi, head of the Technical Rescue and Quick Intervention Unit.
A dozen Quick Intervention Unit, police, civil defence, first response and ambulance vehicles were parked around the scene to put out the fire and evacuate tenants from the building. A rescue helicopter was also hovering round the building.
All the residents, apart from those on the top floor, were evacuated from the building, which is known as the "Shams Boutique Building".
"We were alarmed when we first saw how big the fire was and we were concerned until the black smoke started to go, by about 1.15pm," said Al Nuaimi. "The advantage of this building is that the central AC system is located on the roof, so the fire was going up, not down. There was no danger to the tenants. There would have been danger if the AC system was located in the middle part of the building or on lower levels,"
Captain Mohammad Al Ansari, Head of Abu Dhabi Ambulance Section, told Gulf News there were three ambulances, two first response cars, 10 paramedics and four drivers.
"We were concerned because a large gas cylinder was located right next to the air conditioning room. We were alarmed that the fire would get worse. As for the tenants located on the 16th [top] floor, we advised them to stay on the rooftop for their own safety, until the fire started to cool off. Sometimes it's safer to stay in your own apartment during a fire," said Al Ansari.
Ishel Am, a French engineer who lives on the 11th floor of the building said he was so happy that his family was able to come out of the building as soon the fire broke out. "My wife came to know about the fire at 12.15pm and ran out of the flat with our daughter."
He works in a nearby building and got a call from his wife. "I was shocked to see thick smoke on the top of the building. When I rushed to the building, police and civil defence were evacuating the residents," said Am.
P.K, from Jordan, said his wife was busy with cooking and came to know about the fire when police alerted all the residents. "She rushed out of the flat".
M.K., from India, said he was sleeping alone in his flat but a friend from a nearby building alerted him over the phone. "When I came out people were running here and there." He said when he came out, police and civil defence had already reached the spot.
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I would like to thank the rescue team and the police for their heroic efforts. They responded very quickly. It could have been a lot worse without them. They went door to door evacuating people and even took time to rescue my dog. I am grateful to them!
Posted: January 10, 2008, 13:07