Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 August 2020

Dubai firefighter killed in blaze honoured by family and colleagues

Sgt Adel Nasser Saleh died while fighting a fire in two warehouses at Dubai Investments Park

Dubai Civil Defence teams extinguish a fire at Dubai Investment Park on Tuesday. One firefighter died while tackling the blaze. Courtesy: Dubai Civil Defence  
Dubai Civil Defence teams extinguish a fire at Dubai Investment Park on Tuesday. One firefighter died while tackling the blaze. Courtesy: Dubai Civil Defence  

The family and colleagues of a firefighter who died while putting out a blaze in the emirate on Tuesday have paid tribute to a "committed and dedicated" man who cared deeply about protecting people.

Maj Gen Rashid Al Matrooshi, director general of Dubai's Civil Defence, offered his condolences to the family of Sgt Adel Nasser Saleh, who died after a burning warehouse collapsed on him.

Sgt Saleh had been at the site in Dubai Investments Park with firefighting teams from three stations after flames engulfed two warehouses.

“He worked for 25 years with the civil defence and was known for his dedication in all the fire centres he moved between during his service, the last of which was the Dubai Investments Park centre,” said Maj Gen Al Matrooshi.

Before he would leave for work he would often hold my face and say 'If I were to die in an accident, I would have died helping people'

Saif Saleh

“He died when a wall suddenly collapsed from two floors above and fell on him while the teams were battling the blaze.”

He said Sgt Saleh, 44, was also known for answering the call of duty even outside his working hours and was loved and respected by his colleagues.

Sgt Saleh is survived by four sons and a daughter. His eldest, Saif, is 14.

"Before he would leave for work he would often hold my face and say 'If I were to die in an accident, I would have died helping people'," Saif told Dubai TV. He was proud of his father, he added.

Of Yemeni origin, Sgt Saleh but was born and raised in the UAE. He had 10 brothers and sisters, including a twin, Mohammed Nasser.

"I love all my siblings but he was my twin. He was completely committed to everything he did from his faith to his family and his job. And he always made our mother happy," Mohammed said.

His eldest brother, Salah Nasser, said the family was mourning their loss but felt supported by the public.

"The love and support we have received from people have helped make us feel much better," he said.

Brig Ali Hussain Al Mutawa, assistant director of the fire department at Dubai Civil Defence, said the warehouse that caught fire was being used to store flammable materials.

"Within 16 minutes of arriving at the site, the front wall of the warehouse, measuring 7 by 14 metres, completely collapsed," he told Dubai TV.

"Our crews are trained to deal with all types of dangerous situations but sometimes unexpected accidents happen."

He said two other firefighters were injured and remain in hospital.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, posted a tribute to Sgt Saleh on Twitter.

Posting a photo of the Emirati, Sheikh Hamdan said Sgt Saleh was "martyred during his call to duty".

"Precious and valuable civil defence personnel are working to protect lives and the security and safety of our state," he said.

"Today, Dubai lost Sgt Adel Nasser Saleh, who was martyred during his call to duty. We ask God to have mercy and to grant his family patience and solace."

Tributes soon began to flood in from the public on social media as images of Sgt Saleh and prayers for his family were shared.

Updated: July 29, 2020 10:50 PM

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