Fire breaks out at ‘overcrowded’ two-storey villa
ABU DHABI // Six people were rescued by civil defence teams from a two-storey villa in the capital on Monday after a blaze spread from the ground floor.
They were guided out of the building in Al Muroor area through the fire escape, while firefighters worked to put out the flames.
Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing, said Lt Col Mohammed Al Ansari of Abu Dhabi Civil Defence. No injuries were reported.
The blaze was reported at 11.15am. Civil defence teams from Al Qubaisat station and rapid intervention teams from Al Falah were sent to the scene.
A Scot and her Emirati neighbour saw a fireman on a ladder rescue a three-year-old girl from the roof, and three or four men were taken to safety from a first-floor balcony.
Three Nepalese residents were woken by shouting and crying. Some residents of the villa that caught fire jumped from the first-floor balcony.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze by noon but light smoke lingered around the villa and soot covered its exterior throughout the first floor.
Many of the villa’s residents – mostly Nepalese and some Sudanese – stood across the street and waited for the civil defence to allow them to return.
Among them was Ghanesh K C, 40, a Nepalese hydraulics technician who stayed in one of the five rooms on the first floor of the villa. Three to five men shared a room, while two families including a baby shared another.
“As soon as my roommate told me about the fire, I drove all the way from my office in Mussaffah,” Mr Ghanesh said.
“We’ve lost all our belongings. I’ve got two laptops, one printer, two mobile phones, my clothes and some important documents inside the room.
“They told me that when the fire broke out, they saw smoke coming from the first floor where some Sudanese are staying.
“Now, we don’t know where we’ll stay for the night.”
Abu Dhabi Municipality runs campaigns on the dangers of subletting and room-sharing, with billboards across the city that say: “Your home reflects your city.”
Partitioned halls and rooms are widely advertised to low-income workers, in breach of municipal regulations.
The rules state that not more than six unrelated adults can live in one villa, not more than three can occupy a bedroom in a flat and not more than two people can occupy a studio.
Companies that breach the rules can be fined up to Dh100,000.
Updated: January 16, 2017 04:00 AM