On the afternoon of Thursday 1st October, fire broke out on a lower floor of the 32-storey Nasser Residential Tower in King Faisal Street, Sharjah, and spread rapidly up the face of the building to engulf most floors above. The fire sent plumes of thick smoke drifting across the city.
Civil Defence firefighters from Sharjah, Dubai and Ajman tackled the outbreak using eight pumps and several water tankers, despite being hampered by rush-hour crowds. Brigadier Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence confirmed that some 250 families were evacuated from the high rise building, into which tenants had only moved into during recent months.
Although 19 persons were treated for smoke inhalation, there were no serious injuries. Brigadier Al Suwaidi said that besides residents, a number of pets, including birds and cats, had also been rescued from the building by fire crews. The fire left some 40 flats damaged and many vehicles were destroyed or damaged by falling burning debris that showered down onto adjacent parking areas.
Brigadier Al Suwaidi stated that the civil defence would summon the manager of the maintenance company responsible for safety and maintenance work in the tower building.
“In case we find the company ignored safety measures and exposed residents to danger, we will take strict action against the company,” he said. The cause of the fire is currently under forensic investigation.
Red Crescent in Sharjah provided hotel accommodation for the building’s residents for several days until they could return to their homes. The charity has already provided accommodation to 180 families and is looking to help out some 70 more.
The Nasser Tower outbreak is the latest in a string of fires in recent years involving high rise structures in the United Arab Emirates that are believed to have involved the facades of several newly-completed towers. These included that in February 2015 which damaged Dubai’s 86 floor Torch Tower, reputed to be one of the world’s tallest residential buildings.