Restaurant owners pitch in to feed The Torch blaze victims

Hot coffee, pizza, pasta and sandwiches were served up free as businesses pitched in to help victims of the fire that gutted parts of The Torch.

DUBAI // Hot coffee, pizza, pasta and sandwiches were served up free as businesses pitched in to help victims of the fire that gutted parts of the Torch tower.

Owners of cafes in Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers said photographs of families fleeing the flaming high-rise leaving behind their belongings prompted them to help.

“It is normal to provide help to people who need it. All the people, especially families with children and old people, were suffering from stress seeing the fire,” said Bassam Nassour, owner of Cafe Martinez, a coffee shop in Princess Tower across from the Torch. His family knew people living in the Tower and headed out to the building to see how they could help.

“I called in my chefs and staff from two other outlets and along with my son and my wife we did our best to provide sandwiches and drinks.”

More than 300 sandwiches and 400 cups of coffee were sent across on Saturday and croissants and tea on Sunday.

“People were afraid of the sand storm and the smoke and they needed water. It was a simple thing to do,” said Mr Nassour, a UAE resident for 20 years.

“I’m not going to charge residents. We have done good business because people from the Torch come to our cafe. But now they don’t have a home and are on the street so I cannot charge them. The management asked me to charge, so if it is for the management, for their meetings, then OK, we can think of it, but not for residents because everyone is so scared.”

An Italian pastry shop owner in JLT saw photographs of the blaze on Facebook and posted a message asking residents to come to his cafe for free meals.

“This can happen to anyone, it can happen to me and it’s very difficult for the people who are suffering this,” said Sebastiano Maio, owner of Golositalia.

“I wake up at 4am for my job every day and when I saw the pictures, I felt very bad. I’m not a rich man but I can provide food, which is my job. I first invited people for breakfast, lunch and dinner but they said they could not move because they were waiting for information. So I prepared food with my staff and went twice with meals.” The cafe supplied 60 meals in the afternoon and then provided five kilograms of pasta in the evening.

A nearby pizza chain also supplied free pizzas for residents.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

Published: February 22, 2015 04:00 AM

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