x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Displaced Sharjah fire victims vow to continue fight for compensation

Residents of Al Tayer Tower who lost their homes in a fire have vowed to continue their fight for compensation after receiving advice from the Sharjah Ruler's office.

Tenants left homeless after a fire at Al Tayer Tower visit Al Diwan Al Ameri Palace, right, to seek help.
Tenants left homeless after a fire at Al Tayer Tower visit Al Diwan Al Ameri Palace, right, to seek help.

SHARJAH // Residents who lost their homes in a fire have vowed to continue their fight for compensation after receiving advice from the Sharjah Ruler's office.

The group of 20, who lived in the 40-storey Al Tayer Tower that was gutted in a blaze in April, met yesterday to present their case to the Ruler's office.

They were allowed to enter the building by security guards but were told the office was not in a position to help.

"He advised us to open a case with Sharjah Municipality real-estate court," said one of the tenants, Mirza Baig.

"We have consulted two lawyers and they also advised us to first open a file at the municipality and they can take it from there."

After a blaze at Al Baker Tower 4 in January, which left about 125 families displaced, Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, the Ruler of Sharjah, paid Dh50,000 compensation each to tenants.

But no such help will be made available to Al Tayer residents.

Joe James, a tenant who attended the meeting, said the group was still determined. "The police and building owners came to write down all the things we had lost in the fire, meeting everyone in their gutted apartments with promises of compensation," Mr James said. "What happened after that?"

More than 100 families were left homeless after the blaze.

But tenants have been told by the tower's insurers that because the property company, Distinguished Real Estate, did not cause the fire it is not liable to compensate them.

Mr James said the group had approached the Indian Consulate in Dubai and the Indian Business Association in Sharjah for help.

Police said the fire was started by a cigarette but the person responsible has yet to be identified.

The tower, in Al Nahda area, has been repaired, with many former tenants moving back in.

ykakande@thenational.ae