A Moroccan man living on the sixth floor of a residential tower block in Ajman saved his mother-in-law after a fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
A swift response from emergency teams in the emirate meant the fire was contained and no fatalities were reported.
Residents who witnessed the incident told The National that everything happened very quickly, and survival instincts kicked in when the flames spread up the 32-storey building in the Ajman One complex.
The fire broke out in Tower Two of the complex at around 1.30am.
Mohammed Sahlan told The National, “I thought it was a false alarm but then I smelt the smoke. My mother-in-law had a fracture in her back shoulder, and I carried her on my shoulder and went down through the stairs to safety,”
“I returned back, and the blaze was brought under control around 3am. The blaze didn’t reach my apartment. The tower's management offered us to go to hotels and I registered my name on the list.”
Co-operation between Ajman Civil Defence and Ajman Police helped prevent the fire from spreading to the other sides of the building as well as neighbouring towers.
Lt Col Gaith Al Kaabi, director of Al Madinah Police Station, said later on Tuesday that 64 apartments and 10 cars were damaged in the blaze, while shelter was being provided for 256 residents in conjunction with Emirates Red Crescent.
Authorities are working to restore the electricity in the building to allow residents to return to apartments which were not affected by the fire.
Mr Sahlan, from Morocco, said his mother-in-law, who was recovering from an injury in her back shoulder and couldn’t walk, and his daughter were living with him when the fire alarm went off around midnight.
They were told to evacuate the building.
The aviation engineer who has been a resident in the tower for one year, took his family to his friend's house.
Mr Sahlan then returned and spoke with police officials about allowing him to go to his apartment to collect money and clothing.
“I think they will allow us to check our apartments later,” he said.
Sakhar Jamod, from Syria, was with his wife and daughter on the fourth floor when their fire alarm went off.
“The fire started in the upper floors of the building. I smelt the smoke and managed to evacuate my family through the stairs. It was a tough moment until we managed to get outside the building. The blaze was big and the sound of alarms and people shouting intensified the fear,” Mr Jamod said.
Ajman police provided seven buses, in co-ordination with the Red Crescent, to transport the residents to nearby accommodation in Ajman and Sharjah.
“They gave us a hotel room for the moment. I don't know what to do now but to wait and see what will happen next,” said Mr Jamod.
Montaser Mohammed, a 45-year-old Emirati owner of an apartment in the tower told The National that his wife was alone as their children were staying at his father's house.
“My wife called me, and she was scared to step outside the building. I was near and went up to the apartment on the fourth floor and managed to take her down. Thank God nobody was hurt,” Mr Moahmmed said.
“It was a massive fire but I'm extremely thankful to the firefighters and emergency personnel who risked their lives to save the residents.”
Brigadier Abdullah Saif Al Matroushi, director general of Police Operations Department at Ajman Police, said that the force sent a mobile emergency management service, in co-ordination with the Emergency Operations Section, to talk to the building's residents about damages. Other response crews are also working to ensure the safety of the site.
Authorities have launched a comprehensive investigation to ascertain the root cause of the fire.