19.01.2007 – 09:24
Fire at Dubai Construction Site
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (ots/PRNewswire)
Dubai's emergency 997 line received a report of the fire at the Fortune Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai's Marina Distict (JAVAZ) at 1311 hours on Thursday, 18 January, 2007. The closest fire station, Al-Quwoz, about 12 kilometers from the site, sent one medium intervention vehicle, one firefighting vehicle, one water supply vehicle, and a services vehicle to the building. Despite significant traffic congestion, the fire-fighting vehicles arrived by 1320 hours. Once the first unit arrived at the building, Civil Defense officials assessed the situation and called in three more firefighting and rescue units. Two of the units worked to rescue workers, while the third fought the fire. Civil Defense officials on the scene reported that the fire was not so serious, but they said it was producing significant smoke. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The developer of the project is Dubai-based Nakheel, and the prime contractor is AJM, a Malaysian Company.
Civil Defense officials estimated that there are approximately 300 workers employed at this site, with an unknown number of others on site, including various subcontractors. The building under construction is 35 floors high. 61 workers were trapped on numerous floors above the 20th floor and required assistance to evacuate the site. Four people have died to date as a result of the fire. Twenty-four sustained mild injuries, while 30 others suffered moderate injuries, mostly from smoke inhalation. Those receiving mild to moderate injuries were treated at a triage center, set up by the Dubai government, and released. One worker jumped from one of the burning floors, apparently, out of fright, however he grabbed onto a rope before plunging to the ground. Firefighters were able to rescue him, and counselors on hand were able to calm him. Those with serious injuries remain under care at Rashid Hospital.
According to Civil Defense reports, some evacuation procedures were undertaken by the contractor until firefighters arrived. Civil Defense officials then assumed control, guiding uninjured workers to the correct exits and assisting those who were injured in their evacuation. Civil Defense officials determined that it would not be safe to use helicopters to rescue workers on the roof of the building because the roof support scaffolding may have been weakened by the fire, and they were concerned that the backwash from the propellers would spread the fire more quickly, or put workers at greater risk of injury.
Major Rashid bin Massam al Bulflaseh of the Dubai Civil Defense said, "Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with the workers, their families and others affected by this tragedy."
"We've seen reports on the BBC of faulty machinery. The cause of the fire is under investigation and it's too early to speculate. We will release the cause as soon as it has been determined," said Major Rashid.
"Dubai Civil Defense would like to thank the caller who reported this fire. We rely on the public to provide as many details as possible so that we can respond quickly and appropriately to such emergencies," he concluded.
This statement is distributed by Levick Strategic Communications on behalf of The Executive Office, Dubai.
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