AJMAN // A massive cleanup was under way on Tuesday morning after a huge blaze in Ajman engulfed residential towers near the Corniche on Monday night.
Police cordoned off several blocks around the site of the blaze as local emergency crews and quick intervention units from Abu Dhabi battled the blaze.
Civil Defence teams from Sharjah and Ajman had responded to the incident in the Sowan area at about 9pm. At 11pm, firefighters were still working to control the blaze, which had spread to adjacent towers.
The fire occurred in the recently completed Dh2.7 billion Ajman One development, a cluster of 12 residential buildings.
Brig Sheikh Sultan Al Nuaimi, general commander of Ajman Police, said the origins of fire had yet to be determined with investigations into the incident ongoing.
Five people are believed to have suffered minor burns.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Minister of Interior, visited Ajman Civil Defence operations room to supervise the firefighting efforts. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid, Ruler of Ajman, also visited the scene to access the damage.
The development was evacuated of hundreds of residents, including those in adjacent buildings within the same development that were unaffected by the blaze.
Among them were Mohammed Abdullah, 33, an IT worker, and Ahmed El Bagir, 30, a petroleum engineer, both from Sudan.
The pair live in Building Nine of the development, next to the tower that initially caught fire, and first heard fire alarms around 9.30pm.
“The buildings were evacuated very quickly,” said Mr El Bagir. “Some people were still in their underwear.”
Witnesses said the fire may have spread from Tower Eight of the development to Tower Six. Video footage on social media shows burning materials falling from the building in a wide arc around the development.
On Tuesday morning, the streets below the building were littered with charred and warped aluminium panels which were part of the facade of the building.
Scores of firefighters were still gathered around the entrances of the buildings at 3am as residents looked on.
The blaze comes less than three months after a massive fire engulfed The Address Downtown Dubai building, which focused attention on the use of highly combustible plastic filled aluminium composite panels on the facades of buildings countrywide.
In a February 15 interview with The National, one fire expert warned of the danger posed by so-called "domino fires", where a fire starts in one building and spreads to another as burning panels detach and fall to the ground which can ignite surrounding buildings.
This month Dubai Civil Defence said the release of the updated UAE fire code will be delayed for a month to allow revisions, amendment of additional chapters and translation work.