Fire breaks out in Abu Dhabi

Blaze at restaurant sends smoke billowing over the emirate

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A fire broke out at a building in a busy area of Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Black smoke emerged from a nine-storey building on Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street shortly before 2pm as firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the blaze.

The fire is understood to have begun in Sahil Almadina Restaurant before spreading to the first-floor balcony.

Videos posted online showed a small explosion coming from the first-floor balcony above the restaurant after the fire had started.

The ground floor of the building is occupied by small businesses while residents live on the floors above.

Witnesses who gathered to watch said the building was evacuated by the watchman, Abdulshareef Pachandara, who also called police.

Abu Dhabi Civil Defence were on site tackling the blaze within minutes of smoke rising, they said.

It was extinguished and the site had cooled by about 3.30pm. The fast action prevented the fire from spreading to a neighbouring Baqala grocery store, they said.

The fire left the facade of the building blackened by smoke and caused considerable damage to the restaurant. A fenced-off area attached to the restaurant was also damaged and a water tank inside it was punctured.

A fence beside Sahil Al Madina Restaurant is damaged by the fire. A water tanker was also punctured in the blaze. Haneen Dajani / The National 
A fence beside Sahil Al Madina Restaurant is damaged by the fire. A water tanker was also punctured in the blaze. Haneen Dajani / The National 

Mr Pachandara, 38, said he was alerted to the fire by passers-by who spotted the smoke coming from near the restaurant’s water tank.

The watchman of Al Musallam Jafna Alamari building, from India, said he called police and ran upstairs to tell the residents to leave their flats. Each of the nine floors contains four flats.

“Everybody went down immediately,” he said.

“There were no injuries at all. I don’t know how fire started.”

Abdullah Ali, 36, a builder from Egypt, who lives in one of the apartments, said he was on the phone to his children back home when he heard the sound of a pipe collapsing.

“We went down and found the world upside down.”

He said the smoke was worse than the fire itself.

“We opened the door of the grocery store behind the restaurant to let the smoke out. There were no casualties there, just smoke.”

Mr Ali said Civil Defence were on the scene in minutes and put the fire out quickly.

“By the time we came down, police and firefighters were already here,” he said.

His home was not affected by the fire.

It was the second fire in a residential building in Abu Dhabi over the past three days.

On Friday night, residents in Al Nahyan area reported hearing a loud bang followed by sirens as firefighters reported to the scene to extinguish the fire.

The 12-storey building was evacuated after police arrived and Civil Defence managed to prevent the fire from spreading to neighbouring buildings.

Police said residents who suffered smoke inhalation were taken to hospital.