Death and serious injuries reported in Dubai gas explosion

The blast in Al Mankhool area left a hole in the side of an apartment building

The wall of the building appears to have been blown outward, sending debris on to the street below. Nick Webster / The National
The wall of the building appears to have been blown outward, sending debris on to the street below. Nick Webster / The National

One person has died and three others are fighting for their lives after a gas explosion in a Dubai residential building.

The blast on Saturday night blew a hole in the side of the block in Al Mankhool area of Bur Dubai.

Neighbours said the incident happened about 7pm.

Dubai Police confirmed details of the explosion on Sunday, citing a cooking gas leakage as the cause.

All of the blast victims were of Asian descent and taken to Rashid Hospital, where three are understood to be in a critical condition.

Neighbours said the explosion on Saturday evening rocked the building. Nick Webster / The National
Neighbours said the explosion on Saturday evening rocked the building. Nick Webster / The National

Al Mankhool is a densely populated neighbourhood, surround by mid to low rise residential blocks, punctuated by smaller hotels and convenient stores.

On Sunday, residents described their shock and panic after hearing the deafening bang echo through the streets.

A visitor to the Golden Sands Hotel apartments, opposite the scene of the blast, thought a truck had collided with the building as the force of the explosion was so strong.

AC, an Indian father-of-two who lives in the building, described his horror as he feared for his family’s safety.

“I live on floor seven, the floor above where the explosion happened,” he said.

“It was very noisy, a loud deafening sound. Quite a few apartments on the same floor are damaged.

“The hole in the wall shows how devastating it was. There was no fire, but lots of smoke and dust.

“The emergency services were quick to arrive, maybe five minutes or so.

“We knew straight away there were serious injuries. It was very scary.”

The man, who lives in the flat with his wife and two sons aged 20 and 17, said there was a lot of panic from neighbours in the blast aftermath.

Almost 90 flats were evacuated, with most having between 3-4 occupants.

Not all were home and some flats are unoccupied, but the streets were soon filled with tenants and neighbours concerned with the unfolding drama.

Residents said Al Ghurair Properties, the building managers, had arranged for temporary accommodation for them at Golden Sands Hotel Apartments across the road until authorities declare the building safe to return to.

That could be days while safety tests are completed.

“It was amazing not more people were not injured,” said AC, who has lived in Dubai for 22 years and moved to Al Mankhool about a year ago.

“I don’t have any insurance, so I don’t know what the full extent of the damage is yet.”

One neighbour, an Indian woman who asked not to be identified, said the force of the blast could be felt two blocks away.

"The buildings were shaking it was so powerful," she said.

"You can see a wall has collapsed by the parking lot because of the blast.

"I live two buildings down and have been told to leave my apartment until we know it is safe. It is tragic these people have died; so sad."

The building is thought to have been evacuated of about 200 people.

“I heard a large bang, went outside into the street and saw lots of smoke and dust,” a resident of Al Mankhool said.

“There were a lot of people in the street very quickly as people realised what was happening.

“Everyone was panicking. Security staff from the hotel came out to help, and then the police and civil defense arrived.

“When I saw the damage to the building, It was clear the blast had come from inside.”

Another neighbour, also Indian, was outside the building looking at the damage on Sunday.

"We’ve been told there is a lot of damage to the floor and ceilings between the sixth and seventh floors so the whole building has been evacuated.

"Police have been here all morning and cordoned off access to the building while they continue checking the damage.

"I was at home when we heard this huge bang; it sounded like a bomb going off.

"Everyone went outside to see what was happening. It was scary for all of us as we didn’t know what was happening."

A spokesman for Al Ghurair Properties said the explosion at Mankhool 455 did not affect the overall structure of the building, in which 88 occupied apartments were evacuated.

“The safety of residents and employees who work in the building are the primary concern,” he said.

“All residents were moved out of the building within one hour and accommodated in a nearby hotel.

“Safety assessments are currently in progress to understand when tenants can return to their homes – this is likely to be within the next 48 hours.

“The Dubai Civil Defense is investigating the cause of the gas leak and will provide additional information as it is made available.”

Dubai Health Authority has been contacted for comment.

Updated: September 29, 2019 07:14 PM

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