Lucky escape from Sharjah inferno
Hundreds of Sharjah residents escaped injury when a fire ripped through the Al Tayer building in Al Nahda.
However, while there were no casualties, many of the residents have been left homeless after the blaze, which started at about 2.40am yesterday, engulfed
Residents of the 42-storey high-rise were woken by the sound of the fire alarm and a strong smell of smoke.
Firefighters from Sharjah Civil Defence arrived at the scene along with teams from Dubai and Ajman and they battled with the blaze for more than nine hours, finally extinguishing it at 12pm.
Lieutenant Colonel Hassa Mohammad Al Shehi from Sharjah Police, who attended the scene, said 408 flats had suffered damage, with 102 gutted.
“The fire was enormous because it engulfed all 34 residential floors,” said Al Shehi.
“It took almost 10 hours for the combined teams of firefighters from the three emirates to finally put it out.” He added: “Investigations into the cause of the fire are still ongoing but we know the fire started on the first floor, just above the eight parking levels.
“Then it spread to the upper apartments due to the flammable material that had been used in the construction of the building.”
An eyewitness, who lives in the building next to the Al Tayer Tower, told 7DAYS that he had been woken up by the sound of explosions.
He said: “The sounds were so deafening, I think that they were gas cylinders exploding,”.
One of the victims of the fire, Khamis Badr said he bought furniture costing Dhs50,000 on Friday and had lost it all.
“I had borrowed money from a bank to furnish my apartment. It has all gone up in flames,” said Badr.
Gilbert Mubohe, another resident of the Al Tayer Tower said he was on his balcony on the 10th floor when he saw the fire on the first floor. He and other tenants tried to extinguish it but he said there was no water coming from the hose reel.
Sharjah Charity International and The Red Crescent are assisting the victims and trying to arrange temporary accommodation for them. Three tents have been erected at the nearby Al Nahda Square Park. At least 200 people have not yet been allowed access back into their homes to collect belongings.