DUBAI: A major fire raced through a residential building in Dubai on Saturday, killing sixteen people and injuring nine others, according to the civil defense.
A Dubai Civil Defense official claimed in a statement released early Sunday by the Government of Dubai Media Office that the cause of the fire in the Al Ras neighborhood of Deira was “a lack of compliance with building security and safety requirements.”
“Relevant authorities are conducting a comprehensive investigation to provide a detailed report on the causes of the accident,” the statement continued.
Six minutes after being notified of the incident at 12:35 p.m., firefighters went to the scene and evacuated the building.
The fire, which originated in an apartment on the fourth floor, was extinguished about two hours later at 2:42 p.m. before cooling operations began.
In a letter to the relatives of the deceased, Dubai civil defense “stressed the importance of residential and commercial building owners and residents fully complying with security and safety requirements and guidelines to avoid accidents and protect people’s lives.”
Large plumes of smoke were seen emerging from the building by onlookers.
According to the Khaleej Times, a worker in one of the building’s shops reported hearing a “loud bang.” A few others attempted to rush into the building to save the occupants, but the smoke was too thick.
“Within minutes, fire engines, firefighters, and police officers were on the scene.” They arrived with a crane and began assisting individuals. “Their quick action saved many lives,” an eyewitness told the Khaleej Times.
Al Ras is a heavily inhabited district in old Deira that is home to long-standing markets such as the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk.