Anil Ninan
Anil Ninan left with his wife Neenu and their four-year-old son Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An Indian expat who suffered 90 per cent burns while trying to save his wife from an apartment fire in Umm Al Quwain on February 9 succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Sunday.

Anil Ninan, 32, from Kerala, was trying to save his wife Neenu from the blaze. She remains in hospital. The couple have a four-year-old son.

The fire reportedly broke out in a circuit breaker box in the passageway of their apartment’s hall, a vicar from the church the family goes to told Gulf News.

Rev. Sojan. V. Thomas, vicar of St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church in Ras Al Khaimah, said Anil had saved the life of his wife Neenu who was first injured in the fire that broke out on the night of February 9.

“He rushed to save her by removing her dress that caught her fire. But, the flames engulfed him. Their four-year-old son was sleeping in the bedroom,” said Father Thomas. 

He said Neenu’s parents, who also live with them, were not in the apartment when the incident happened. “Her mother had gone to her sister’s house in Dubai and her father was in his shop in Umm Al Quwain.”

The vicar said the couple could not escape as the fire had blocked their way out through the front door. Apparently, a couple of Arab neighbours broke open the door after Neetu called out for help through the balcony.

Anil, who works with a logistics company in Dubai, had sustained more than 90 per cent burns while Neenu and the neighbours suffered minor injuries. Anil died while under treatment in Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Mohammad Moideen, general secretary of the Indian Association in Umm Al Quwain, said the community members were shocked and saddened to know about the tragedy that struck the family.

“Neenu’s father is a longtime member of our association. Anil used to come for some of our programmes. His parents used to live in Kuwait and recently shifted to Kerala. They have come over after the incident.”

The vicar said the church had sent out an appeal to pray for the family and has been offering support to them. He said the family is waiting to finish the legal procedures to repatriate Anil’s body for funeral back home in the south Indian state.

Moideen said the Umm Al Quwain police is investigating the cause of the fire. “We don’t know how this happened. It is not an old building. I think it is only two or three years old building,” he said.

Gulf News could not immediately get comments from the police.

Gulf News reported at the time that five people were injured in the blaze, three of whom were critical and two moderate.

Initially the injured were taken to Shaikh Khalifa and Umm Al Quwain hospitals but Ninan was transferred to a specialist burns unit at Mafraq hospital in Abu Dhabi for critical care, which is where he died on Sunday.

Facebook posts on several church groups in the northern emirates confirmed the news of Ninan’s passing.

Prasad K John posted on Sharjah Marthoma Parish’s facebook page, “With very deep sorrow to inform that Ras Al Khaimah Mar Thoma Church member who was admitted in Abu Dhabi Mafraq hospital, Mr. Anil Ninan is taken to heavenly abode. Kindly uphold his family members in your prayer.”

Bincy Thomas added, “Lost our dear brother Anil Ninan today. Can’t believe you are gone my dear. Can’t express our pain and grief. Your beautiful smile will remain in our hearts forever.”

Civil Defence comment

Colonel Dr.Salem Hamd Bin Hamdha, director general of Umm Al-Quwain Civil Defence, said the fire started in the fourth floor of the building and tenants rush to help the family. In total five people were injured, three critically, two moderate and one has since died.

Two rescuers from Syria and Egypt will be honoured for their role in helping the family.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames on arrival. The cause is still being investigated.

Col Bin Hamdha appealed to residents to make sure all electrical appliances are properly installed and maintained. He also called for smoke detectors and fire alarms to be installed, for stairways and exits to be kept clear and for tenants to avoid illegal power connection so as not to overload sockets. Lights should also be switched off at night while sleeping, he added.