Dubai: A fire badly damaged parts of Zen Tower in Dubai Marina on Sunday morning, with residents fleeing to safety.
No injuries were reported in the incident, said Major General Rashid Al Matroushi, director of Dubai Civil Defence. He added that the fire started from the exterior of the building and not from inside. However, the cause of the fire is not yet known and officials are investigating the incident.
The blaze started at 10.44am and was brought under control within 45 minutes, Major General Al Matroushi said.
“Firefighters from five stations were dispatched to the building and controlled the fire. The fire started from the exterior of the building. Residents were evacuated successfully and no injuries were reported,” he added.
Despite Sunday’s windy and dusty weather, firefighters put out the fire and started the cooling operation, while residents were moved to safe locations, said Major General Al Matroushi. Zen Tower is a 15-storey residential building at the end of Dubai Marina, towards Jebel Ali.
Brigadier Abdul Raheem Bin Shafee, director of Al Barsha Police Station, said that police patrols helped evacuate nearly 180 people from the tower and took them to three hotels in the area in cooperation with the tower’s management.
He said a mobile police station was at the scene after securing the building and closing the entrances.
“Fire experts from forensic department were investigating the reason behind the fire. We had a mobile police station in the area and officers to secure the building and help the residents,” Brigadier Bin Shafee said.
Meanwhile, police rescued a dog and a cat in the building after their owners alerted the rescue teams about their locations.
Brigadier Rashid Bu Flasa, director–general assistance for fire and rescue at Dubai Civil Defence, said firefighters from Al Marsa, Al Barsha, Al Rahidiya, Al Quoz, Dubai Park and the Martyrs stations participated in extinguishing the fire.
“We arrived to the tower within six minutes after receiving the emergency call. The fire core was on the west side of the tower. We rescued five residents who were trapped in the building but no injuries reported,” Brigadier Bu Flasa said.
A number of affected residents were taken by bus to Ghaya Grand Hotel in Dubai. They had gathered outside nearby buildings, in the lobbies of other towers and inside restaurants to take rest. Some people distributed water bottles to affected residents of the tower.
Pakistani expat Amad Habib, who lives on the fourth floor of the tower, managed to escape with just his apartment key and mobile phone.
“I took nothing with me, I just ran out. I heard the fire alarm and thought maybe it’s just a drill. But I saw smoke outside my front door and rushed out; it was too late to take anything with me. I locked my door and went down the stairs,” Habib said.
More than a dozen vehicles of emergency services reached at the scene of the fire. Police cordoned off the area and surrounding streets were clogged with traffic.
Mona, an Egyptian expat who lives on the first floor, said she had seen smoke billowing outside her apartment. “The fire alarm was ringing. We just ran out. We left our cat behind. I’m here with my husband. Our child is in school right now,” she added.
Some residents had tears in their eyes as they watched their building on fire.
“I’m not sure if my apartment has been hit by the fire or not,” said Mohammad Arif, a university student from India, who woke up after the fire alarm rang outside his fifth floor apartment.
“There was thick black smoke everywhere. I escaped, with just my car keys and wallet in hand. My family is aboard on holiday and my brother-in-law has taken the day off from work to be here with me,” Arif added.