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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 August 2018

Family of electrocuted boy 'requested relocation of electrical room for 3 years'

The boy died after being shocked in an electrical room in his neighbourhood of Al Shamal

Salem Ali, 6, electrocutes himself after walking into an unlocked electrical room. Reem Mohammed / The National
Salem Ali, 6, electrocutes himself after walking into an unlocked electrical room. Reem Mohammed / The National

A boy in Ras Al Khaimah was electrocuted when he wandered into an electrical room near his home.

The boy’s family said they had been asking authorities to lock or relocate the room for three years.

On Saturday, Emirati Salem Ali Al Miri, 6, was playing in the area outside his Al Shamal home when he walked into the room and accidentally electrocuted himself.

He was found hours later by his mother, who began looking for him when he did not return home. Salem was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

On Sunday, Saeed Al Miri, a cousin of the boy’s father, told The National that residents had for years been asking authorities to move or lock the electrical room, which supplies electricity to the neighbourhood.

“It’s always open and located near the residential area,” Mr Al Miri said. “We have been asking authorities to relocate it for the past three years but nothing happened.”

Saeed Al Miri, a relative, gestures at the electrical room where Salem was found by his mother.  Reem Mohammed / The National
Saeed Al Miri, a relative, gestures at the electrical room where Salem was found by his mother.  Reem Mohammed / The National

Electricity in the neighbourhood is supplied by Federal Electricity and Water Authority. Mr Al Miri said residents submitted a plan to the authority suggesting alternative locations for the electrical room in 2016 but never heard back.

He said the door was kept open by electrical technicians and that it posed a danger to children and even motorists due to its location.

“The room is on the side of the road and can be really dangerous if any car accidentally hit it,” he said.

Mr Al Miri said he found out Salem had died at about 4.30pm on Saturday.

“I got a call saying that Salem was playing in front of his house when he went missing.

“His mother found him unconscious at the electrical room and immediately took him to Saqr Hospital,” said Mr Al Miri.

“He was already dead and they couldn’t do anything to save him,” he said

A neighbour looks at the electrical room where Salem was found dead. Reem Mohammed / The National
A neighbour looks at the electrical room where Salem was found dead. Reem Mohammed / The National

Salem was the eldest son of five children. He has three sisters and a brother.

“We are shocked and nothing can be done to bring him back,” said Mr Al Miri.

“It’s a tragic accident that could have been prevented if the room was safely closed and located far from our neighbourhood,” he said.

The incident brought to the fore questions of accountability and child protection.

Afra Al Basti, director general of Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, said the authority was partly to blame for the accident but also that the onus was on parents to supervise young children.

“It’s a tragic incident that took the life of an innocent child and would have been prevented if the child was under the supervision of the parents and the electrical room was closed properly,” said Ms Al Basti.

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She said parents should teach their children the dangers of electricity.

“Authorities should also make sure that such hazardous places are kept closed and fenced,” she said.

A spokesperson for Fewa said the authority could not comment until police released the results of their investigation.

Funeral prayers were held in Al Kherkhor mosque on Saturday evening and Salem was buried in Bin Qaatu Cemetery.

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