Dubai fire: Barsha Heights residents await news of damage to homes

Tenants recall horror as the apartment block was evacuated on Wednesday night

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Residents of Al Meer Tower that caught fire in Dubai’s Barsha Heights spent the night at other people's places and have been anxiously waiting to return to their homes.

They waited outside the building on Thursday morning as teams of experts assessed the damage to the property.

Firefighters tackled the blaze on Wednesday night, which saw the mid-rise building evacuated.

The National spoke to several of those who were left without a home for the night.

We live on the seventh floor and from here it looks like our apartment is almost completely destroyed
Tenant Malinda Bandara

“Before going to sleep last night, I looked out of the window and I saw the flames reflected in the building beside us,” said Shane Pereaa, 29, from the Philippines.

“I heard the fire alarm sounding continuously and we started to panic.

“I live with my wife and my son and luckily we were able to get out of the building in a few minutes.”

Mr Pereaa said he hoped to return to his home soon to assess the level of damage.

“I’m not sure how much damage has been done as we live on the ninth floor,” he said.

“Hopefully we will be able to get back in soon to see what condition it is in.

“Last night, we were lucky enough to stay with a kind-hearted neighbour who took us in.”

Neighbouring residents took videos of the building on Wednesday night as flames engulfed the tower, which is next to the Ramee Rose Hotel.

A Dubai Civil Defence representative said they received an emergency call at 8.57pm and firefighters were on the scene within four minutes.

“The blaze was on the seventh floor and was brought under control within 21 minutes,” said the representative.

“There were no injuries or deaths.”

Another resident who was waiting anxiously outside the property on Thursday morning was Sri Lankan optometrist Malinda Bandara, 36.

“We live on the seventh floor and from here it looks like our apartment is almost completely destroyed,” he said.

“I was at work at the time but I live with my two brothers and sister. Last night, they heard some worrying sounds and looked out the window and saw flames and smoke.

“They immediately grabbed our three cats and two rabbits and made a dash down the stairs.”

Norma Inetorio, 53, was another resident forced out of her home by the fire.

“I had just come home from work and we heard the alarm and realised we had to get out quickly,” said the Filipina, who shares her apartment with two of her compatriots.

“We stayed outside for a few hours but we realised we wouldn’t get back in last night so we had to find other places to stay for the night.

“I was lucky enough to be able to stay the night at a friend’s place.”

One resident said he was on the phone to his mother when he heard the alarm in the building ringing loudly.

“I wasn’t sure if it was a false alarm at first so I looked out the keyhole to see what was happening in the corridor,” said Sandeep Nair, 39, an HR consultant from India.

“There were lots of people running down the corridor, so I realised something serious was happening.

“I went to my balcony and looked out to see fumes and realised I needed to get out.”

Mr Nair said there was a lot of panic as the building was evacuated.

“Thankfully everyone was out pretty quickly,” he said.

Another resident was running a bath when he heard the alarm go off in the building.

“I stopped what I was doing and looked out the window and saw the side of the building was on fire,” said Indian HR consultant Justin Thomas, 32.

“There were a lot of people panicking on the stairs, many with small children.”

Updated: September 08, 2022, 10:51 AM