Residents evacuated after a major fire engulfed a skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates last night have spoken since the blaze, with some having taken shelter in their cars.
THE Emirate’s government reported in a brief statement that seven people were injured and that firefighters managed to evacuate the people inside and control the fire.
The blaze is the latest in a series of high-rise tower fires in the Gulf nation.
Those who fled their homes at the 45-storey Abbco Tower in Sharjah told Gulf News the fire is believed to have started on the 10th floor at 9.04pm.
“It was a small fire to begin with and then we came out of the building and saw it,” said one resident.
Another Arab resident from the 17th floor who was one of many taking shelter inside his car, said, “Where do we go now?”
Burning debris could be seen falling from the sky in videos posted on social media.
“The air here reeks of burning plastic. Flames are roaring up the roadside frontage of the Ajman One tower,” said one tweeter.
Bismillah, a Pakistani tenant in the complex, told Gulf News her three children ran down 19 floors to safety. “We were all very distraught, we have lost everything,” she said
Sharjah Civil Defence teams were at the scene and police cordoned off areas near the tower in Ajma, as they fought to control the blaze.
Residents of nearby buildings were also evacuated for their safety.
In recent years, Dubai has seen two similar fires in a city whose buildings rely on high tech sprinkler systems and other fire retardants as the structures have floors well out of reach of conventional firefighting equipment.
Building and safety experts claim the fires are due to a material commonly used to cover the buildings known as aluminium composite panel cladding.
Seemingly, some panels used in buildings in the United Arab Emirates contain a flammable core that can burn quickly ignited, enabling fires to spread rapidly.