x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

'Ramadan cooking' fire surge

Ras al Khaimah has seen more than 20 house fires in the holy month, authorities say.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // More than 20 house fires have already been reported in Ras al Khaimah in the holy month of Ramadan, something authorities are attributing to excessive use of kitchens. Cooking for long hours, using electrical fans and leaving cooking gas open are all major causes of fires, authorities believe. Brig Saeed Matar Mbasi, the director of Ras al Khaimah Civil Defence, said: "Some careless cooks were leaving the cooking gas cylinders open after use, leading to the spread of the gas in the kitchens and the entire houses therefore causing fire." Substantial losses of property and belongings were reported in most of the fires since Ramadan began, but no deaths have been reported. Brig Mbasi said fire fighters have been succesful at quickly putting out fires and avoiding loss of life. He stressed that the RAK Civil Defence Department advises residents to be careful with the use of potentially dangerous cooking gas and also to limit the use of their kitchen fans. Many fans are made of weak plastic materials which can heat-up when used excessively and can easily break out into fire, he said. Brig Mbasi said the department is keen to protect the safety and security of residents, and stressed that a domestic safety awareness campaign has been organised in the emirate. The campaign is designed to ensure all adults learn to use fire extinguishers, which must be available in all homes. Brig Mbasi said learning to tackle small fires effectively when they break out will improve the chances avoiding a major fire, before fire fighters arrive. ykakande@thenational.ae