Sixteen people, including three Pakistanis, were killed and nine were injured in a Dubai residential building fire on Saturday, local media said on Sunday.
The fire engulfed the five-storey building in the Al-Ras neighborhood, one of the oldest parts of Dubai and home to many migrant workers and traders, on Saturday afternoon, according to Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.
Local media said the fire had been put out.
“Preliminary investigations showed that lack of compliance with building security and safety requirements caused the fire” the National said citing a civil defence statement.
Naseer Vatanappally, an Indian social worker who was at the Dubai Police mortuary to help identify the victims on Saturday night, told Gulf News: “So far, we have managed to identify four Indians, including a couple from Kerala and two men from Tamil Nadu who worked at the building, three Pakistani cousins and a Nigerian woman.”
He said he was coordinating with Dubai Police, the Indian Consulate in Dubai, other diplomatic missions, and friends and relatives of the deceased.
The Foreign Office has yet to issue a statement confirming the deaths.
The Gulf News said that the fire broke out in an apartment located on the fourth floor of the building.
It said that teams from the Port Saeed Fire Station and the Hamriyah Fire Station provided backup to the firefighting operations, adding that the fire was brought under control at 2:42pm after which cooling operations were started.
Gulf News reported the spokesperson for Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) as saying that urgent medical aid was being provided to the injured while rescue teams were working to put out the fire.
It added that the DCD teams had arrived at the site and had “started both evacuation and firefighting operations within six minutes of being notified”.
The spokesperson said preliminary investigations showed that the lack of compliance with building security and safety requirements had caused the fire.
“Relevant authorities are conducting a comprehensive investigation to provide a detailed report on the causes of the accident,” the Khaleej Times quoted him as saying.
The publication also quoted an eyewitness as saying that they saw flames billowing out of the building. A worker at a shop in the building told the news outlet that they heard a “loud bang”.
“We couldn’t figure out what was happening for a few minutes. But then we saw smoke and fire coming out of the window,” he told the Khaleej Times.
“There was smoke everywhere and we could not see anything. So we decided to exit the building and wait for the police.
“Fire engines, firemen and police officers were at the spot within minutes. They brought a crane and started helping people. Their swift action helped save many lives,” the Khaleej Times quoted him as saying.