One confirmed injured in Saadiyat gas explosion
ABU DHABI // A man was injured in a gas explosion at Saadiyat Beach Residences on Tuesday, authorities confirmed.
The man, who works for Etihad Airways, was in his apartment on the fourth floor of Building 1 when the explosion took place.
The man, who was burnt in the incident, was on Wednesday reported to be in a stable condition in hospital.
Building 1 was evacuated and no tenants were allowed to return until it was deemed safe.
Those on floors 1, 2, 3 and 5 were told on Wednesday that they could return to their apartments at 6pm.
The Tourism Development and Investment Company, which manages the buildings, provided all residents with rooms in the Eastern Mangroves Anantara Hotel and was keeping them updated through email.
Ionnais Xenakis, 27, a pilot with Etihad, lives on the fourth floor with his wife Erini, 27, a few apartments away from the flat where the explosion occurred.
“I was sitting on the sofa with my husband and baby. We heard a loud noise and a vibration,” Mrs Xenakis said.
“We weren’t sure what it was so we grabbed our baby and dog, and ran. We saw our neighbour Barry who was injured in the explosion. He told us that he turned on his light and then the apartment exploded.
“He has just moved into the building and told us that his gas wasn’t even connected yet. It was a little difficult to get out of the emergency exit because it was dark, and the emergency doors were damaged and blocked the path,” she said.
“We helped him out until the paramedics came. It was tough, but the one thing that we can all agree upon is TDIC’s swift reaction and assistance.
“They supported us like a family. They did more than we expected them to do. I was even given a stroller for my baby by one of the employees.
“They also gave me everything I needed for my baby. They were there, attending to all of our needs about 15 minutes after the explosion.”
TDIC made arrangements for the Xenakis family’s dog and cat to be taken to the Australian Veterinary Clinic in Abu Dhabi.
“I don’t want to move back in until I’m 100 per cent assured that it’s safe to do so. Right now I’m shocked and scared. You don’t expect things like this to happen,” Mrs Xenakis said.
Initially, only people with severe needs were allowed back in to retrieve their belongings.
Another resident, S M, 30, said: “Our current concern is the fact that we are unable to continue with our daily routine. We aren’t able to go back to work and do all the things we usually do.
“I’d like to have my car keys. We also don’t feel comfortable because we’ve got valuables in the apartment that are exposed and probably unsecured.”
S M was still in his gym clothes, as he and his wife were preparing to exercise when the explosion happened. “As far as I’m concerned we were taken care of greatly by TDIC,” he said. “I just need to know the status of the situation.
“We are currently being updated on developments but we don’t have a concrete answer on what is going to happen.”
L R, another resident, said: “We are being taken care of by TDIC. They’ve done everything with compassion and care, but I question whether this incident could’ve been prevented.
“I’m also concerned for Barry, who was injured and is being treated for severe burns at Al Mafraq. I don’t intend to go back to my apartment. I just want to take my belongings and move out. I don’t feel safe in there.
“I have paid way too much in advance to face such problems. I really hope that the reason for this explosion is not negligence.”
TDIC issued an update on Wednesday: “Following the March 24 incident at Building 1 of Saadiyat Beach Residences, TDIC has been advised by the relevant authorities that the building is now safe for its residents’ return.”
It said it would extend the hotel stay of residents of the fourth floor until any further update. “A full investigation into what has caused the incident is ongoing.”
Updated: March 25, 2015 04:00 AM