SHARJAH // Regular safety checks could have avoided a fire caused by a leaking gas cylinder that injured a mother and two children.
The fire gutted a home in Sharjah at the weekend and caused first and second-degree burns to the Iraqi mother, 36, and her daughter, 12. A boy, 7, suffered minor burns to the head.
"The fire accident was caused due to the leakage of gas from the gas pipeline connected to the stove, leading to a huge gas explosion," said Col Mohamed Habib, of the Sharjah Police forensics laboratory. "This would have been avoided if there were proper checks."
Col Habib urged people using cylinders to ensure the integrity of the pipes regularly and properly close the cylinder after using it. Proper ventilation is also crucial.
He said gas leaks in homes was mainly caused when butane, a common cooking gas, combined with oxygen. If there was a spark, it could cause an explosion.
People who think they have a leak should immediately disconnect the electricity from the mains power supply and shut the gas valves, Col Habib said.
If there are flames, they should use fire extinguishers until Civil Defence arrives and try to keep flammable materials away. They should also call 998 and give a detailed description of the fire.
Capt Mansour Batti Al Shamsi, the director of the investigations department at Buhaira Corniche Police Station, said construction companies should adhere to safety standards, such as using only fire-resistant wood for kitchen doors.
They should also install fire detectors and alarms, and regularly ensure the extinguishers are filled.