Sultan orders installation of smoke detectors in houses

Smoke spread in Sharjah building leading to deaths because fleeing occupants of flat where fire started left main door open

Sharjah: The installation of fire and smoke detection systems in all houses built by the Sharjah Housing Department must be carried out at the earliest at the expense of the Government of Sharjah.

These systems should be installed at the houses that will be built by the department in the future also.

The decision comes in line with the instructions of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Khalifa Al Tunaiji, member of the Sharjah Executive Council and chairman of Sharjah Housing Department, announced on Tuesday. He conveyed this in a telephone conversation via the Direct Line programme broadcast live on Sharjah Radio and TV.

A faulty window air-conditioning connection was the cause of the fire that claimed the lives of five people on Monday at a residential building in Al Butainah, the police forensic laboratory investigation revealed.

The police have completed investigation and handed over the building to the owner.

A Ministry of Interior statement said the smoke from the fire that began in a first-floor apartment spread throughout the building due to human error. The residents of the apartment in which the fire began left the premises safely but also left the main door open which led to the smoke spreading throughout the building. The thick smoke obscured everything, preventing many residents from finding the building’s exit, resulting in suffocation and deaths.

The ministry expressed regret over the fire and the consequent loss of lives that could have been avoided. It stressed upon the importance of following safety instructions, the correct means of evacuation, without panic and disorderliness.

Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, director of Sharjah Civil Defence, urged residents to follow the basic protocol during fire evacuation so that it does not impact others’ safety. The deaths in this fire occurred due to the wrong actions of the apartment’s residents who left their main door open allowing the smoke to spread, he said.

Colonel Obaid Hassan, director of the Community Department of Sharjah Police, told Gulf News that they are working with the owner of the building to provide alternative accommodation for the affected residents.

“We also followed up the cases of the injured who were admitted in hospitals [Al Qasimi, Al Kuwaiti in Sharjah and Khalifa Hospital in Ajman] as well as the procedures of issuing death certificates for the deceased. We contacted the brother of the Moroccan woman who died in the fire with her two kids and are helping him in the issuance of death certificates and paperwork to facilitate the repatriation of the bodies.”

Meanwhile, the condition of the Sudanese woman who was admitted to the ICU on Monday remains critical while her husband’s condition has improved, Dr Eisa Al Moa’almi, head of the emergency department at Al Kuwaiti Hospital, told Gulf News.


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