DESPARDES — “It all happened in a blur. One moment we were relaxing at home, the next, scrambling for our lives,” recalled a school teacher at a private school in Sharjah, UAE.
It took several drones, at least a dozen fire trucks, and scores of firefighters as authorities finally put out the massive fire that ravaged the 48-floor Abbco Tower in Al Nahda neighborhood on Tuesday.
No casualties were reported as the whole building was evacuated before the fire spread. Five elderly people complained of breathing difficulties and were assisted on site. The fire was put out in under three hours. According to a report, 250 families — mostly expats were evacuated safely. No casualties were reported.
A view from a 32nd floor studio apartment of the residential tower in Sharjah, UAE.
The blaze ripped through the 190-meter Abbco Tower, turning it into a towering inferno in a matter of minutes. The fire started around 9pm local time (17:00 GMT), according to the Gulf News newspaper.
Residents of nearby buildings were immediately evacuated for their safety. The quick response by Sharjah Civil Defense teams averted a major disaster, authorities said.
Authorities gave no cause for the blaze, which smouldered into early Wednesday morning.
“The sight that greeted us looked straight out of a disaster movie. Huge flames licked one side of our building as thick plumes of black smoke billowed the darkening sky. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My mind was numb with shock and disbelief,” recalls an expat.
According to a census by Sharjah’s Department of Statistics and Community Development, the population is made up of over 175,000 Emiratis, while there are more than 1.2 million expatriates living in the city — part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metro area.
For Emiratis living in Sharjah, the population of females outnumbers males. However, there are significantly more male expatriates than females. (Wikipedia)