x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Firemen rescue residents from blaze

Children are among those rescued from a burning apartment near the Etisalat Building in Khalidiya.

ABU DHABI // Seventy firemen spent about an hour fighting a serious blaze in an apartment building in Khalidiya last night, rescuing several people including children. Fire crews used an extendable ladder to reach seven people trapped on the fifth floor of the apartment block, near the Etisalat Building. People on lower floors managed to get out by using the stairs. Nine people suffered smoke inhalation, including a woman who was taken to Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre with breathing difficulties, said Major Mohammed al Amsari, the head of the ambulance section for Abu Dhabi.

Emergency services were called about 7.15pm, Maj Amsari said. About 70 members of the fire brigade, including the quick prevention unit of Civil Defence, responded as well as 15 ambulance workers, he said. Firemen pulled people onto the ladder from the windows of the building as dozens of people watched from behind yellow police tape. The fire started on the fourth floor of the building, Major Amsari said. The cause had not been confirmed last night.

A watchman for the building, who gave his name only as Yahiya, said he had to unlock the door of the apartment where the fire had started and run through thick smoke, past the blaze in the living room, to rescue a 12-year-old child in one of the bedrooms. No one else was home, he said. Sulaiman Mohammed, 25, from India, a resident of the building, said he had come home to find police officers outside of his building and residents rushing out. The fire alarm had been ringing inside the building.

"I don't think we'll be able to stay here tonight," he said. The fire and smoke damaged the upper floors of the building. mchung@thenational.ae