x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 October 2017

Fire rips through several houses in Umm Al Quwain old town

No casualties as firefighters respond swiftly to extinguish the blaze 

A fire has gutted several abandoned houses in the old town of Umm Al Quwain (UAQ).

Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze before it spread but 100 people were evacuated from nearby houses by the emirate's Civil Defence.

It is not clear yet what caused Thursday afternoon's fire, but it spread because of dry leaves and parts of old palm trees. There were no casualties because the houses were completely abandoned, and the owners of the property are unknown.

At around 4:30pm UAQ civil defence operations were notified by witnesses of the fire and they moved immediately to the site. Emergency teams managed to evacuate a 100 people from 11 houses nearby.

“It took a while to put it out because the houses were filled with waste," said an operations room official.

Such fires are common from time to time in this area, and a decision will be made tomorrow on what measures should be taken to avoid further accidents, he added.

Col Khamees Ibrahim, deputy head of Umm Al Quwain civil defence, also urged people to let firefighters do their job and not to crowd around a fire scene.

The old town sits at the top of the emirate on a piece of land surrounded by the sea and Creek. It's a quiet part of the emirate. There are old coral houses but also some abandoned buildings. The post office, dhow harbour, UAQ National Museum and the Flamingo Beach Resort, are some of the more prominent parts of the area, along with a collection of ethnic restaurants, tailors and barbers.

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