ABU DHABI // Over-reliance on air conditioning systems, overloaded cables and faulty electrical systems are increasingly to blame for fires in the capital, the Ministry of Interior said yesterday. "Fire accidents increased in the summer because of the use of AC around the clock," said Lt Col Rashid al Burkani of the Criminal Evidence Department. There were 240 fire accidents in Abu Dhabi in the first seven months this year. Officials did not report how many deaths or injuries were involved, however statistics released by Ministry this summer said there were 231 fires in the city in the first six months of the year, causing nine deaths and 31 injuries.
Many fires were the result of power cables being overloaded or electrical work being done by unprofessional or unqualified practitioners, Lt Col al Burkani said. Others could be attributed to electrical systems that did not meet safety standards, he said, adding that the systems in many houses and businesses in Abu Dhabi were "random". Lt Col al Burkani said 64 fires were caused by electrical faults, 21 by fuel leaks, 13 by "sources of heat" such as matches or lighters, 10 by a "slow source of heat" such as cigarettes, and six by mechanical failures. Another 126 occurred from cooking or gas explosions.
He also urged residents to take care when lighting incense, in the wake of a fire that killed three members of the same family in Al Ain last week that it is believed was started by an incense burner. In May, almost 60 homes were badly damaged in three fires in Abu Dhabi. One of the blazes took seven hours to extinguish. In April, a fire at Mina Zayed fruit and vegetable market burnt from midnight until early morning and gutted a dozen shops.
And in March, a fire destroyed the Fiber Flex Factory in Musaffah, engulfing the plastics factory in 20-metre flames. firstname.lastname@example.org