x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Power cut to district as 10 appliances tackle Sharjah warehouse blaze

Four warehouses destroyed, 16 saved, as electricity and gas are cut off to surrounding neighbourhood to help stop blaze spreading.

The  Al Mualim Electrical Devices and Mobile Phones warehouse, gutted in a fire Saturday evening at the Industrial Area 6 in Sharjah.
The Al Mualim Electrical Devices and Mobile Phones warehouse, gutted in a fire Saturday evening at the Industrial Area 6 in Sharjah.

SHARJAH // A fire that gutted four warehouses in Sharjah Industrial Area 6 just after midnight yesterday left much of the surrounding area without gas or electricity, and caused traffic disruptions.

The warehouses were used to store electrical cables and kitchen equipment.

Col Rashid al Marri, the director of operations at Sharjah Civil Defence, said: "We had to cut off electricity and gas to the entire neighbourhood to prevent an escalation, as the materials in the warehouses were highly inflammable. All those cut off from power got it back in the morning, and we regret the inconvenience."

Roads in the surrounding area had to be closed and remained closed yesterday morning, causing some disruption to the emirate's Sunday morning traffic, said Lt Col Ali al Shamsi of Sharjah Police Anjad patrol unit.

The fire was brought under control by 3am. Firefighters from Sharjah worked with their Dubai and Ajman counterparts to extinguish the blaze, describing it as the biggest they have fought since the fire that gutted Al Safeer Group of companies in Industrial Area 2 last November. About 120 firemen were called to the scene, and 10 fire engines were used to extinguish the fire.

Col al Marri said the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Police investigators were at the scene as firemen continued with cooling down the charred remains of the buildings, ensuring no flare-ups could reignite the blaze.

Firemen were expected to hand over the scene to police and insurance assessors last night.

Damage caused by the fire could run into the millions, said Brig Marwan bin Afrah, the deputy director of Sharjah Civil Defence.

"Although we have saved about 16 warehouses in the neighbourhood, the spread of excessive heat in most of these warehouses may well have affected the quality of some of the goods stored there," he said.

The accident comes just weeks before Sharjah authorities' plans to mount the country's biggest fire safety campaign across the emirate's residential areas. The campaign is being carried out on the orders of Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE.

ykakande@thenational.ae