x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dubai villa explosion caused by teen girls sniffing gas, court told

Four teenage girls who were sniffing butane gas caused an explosion that wrecked a family villa in Mirdiff and left one needing corrective surgery from burns.

DUBAI // Four teenage girls were sniffing butane gas in the windowless basement of a villa when one of them made the mistake of trying to light a cigarette.

The resulting explosion blew the door off the room, wrecked the stairs above and set the girls on fire, the Criminal Court was told yesterday. One of the girls was burnt so badly she needed corrective surgery.

The girls – two aged 14 from South Africa and Ethiopia, one aged 16 from Mauritius and a 17-year-old from Britain – bought cans of butane gas from a supermarket near the Mauritian girl’s family home in Mirdif on the evening of June 18, 2010, and went to the basement to inhale it together.

“It was the second time I inhaled butane,” the Mauritian girl told prosecutors.

At about 9.45pm the South African girl tried to light a cigarette, igniting the gas that had built up in the room.

“Fire was all over my body, my hair and legs. My friends were surrounded with fire,” the Mauritian girl said. “I held the hand of my closest friend and we both ran towards the room door, but it had been blown off.”

The girls fled the house and their screams alerted a neighbour, who called the police and an ambulance.

The girls suffered burns all over their bodies, particularly to their necks, faces and limbs. The British girl required corrective surgery to her injuries.

The South African fainted when her clothes caught fire. She denies a charge of damaging property. The other three girls were not charged.

A verdict will be delivered at a later date.

salamir@thenational.ae