According to the civil defense, sixteen people were killed and nine others were injured in a major fire that blasted through a residential building in Dubai on Saturday.
A Dubai Civil Defense official claimed in a statement published 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.”
“Responsible authorities are conducting a thorough investigation in order to provide a detailed report on the causes of the accident,” the statement continued.
Firefighters rushed to the scene and evacuated the building six minutes after being notified of the fire at 12:35 p.m..
The fire, which broke out in an apartment located on the fourth floor, was put out about two hours later at 2:42 p.m. before cooling operations started.
Sending condolences to the families 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.”
Eyewitnesses reported seeing large plumes of smoke coming from the building.
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 ancient Deira that is home to long-standing marketplaces such as the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk.