x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Three hurt in warehouses blaze

Tankers drove in drinking and non-drinking water to provide fire appliances with supplies to battle against the flames, while one helicopter flew overhead and a remote-controlled helicopter filmed the scene.

Fire broke out in a Port Zayed warehouse being used to store sponge for furniture yesterday, and soon spread to three other units.
Fire broke out in a Port Zayed warehouse being used to store sponge for furniture yesterday, and soon spread to three other units.

ABU DHABI // Three people were injured when a fire engulfed four warehouses in Port Zayed yesterday morning.

The fire broke out at a warehouse storing sponge used for furniture at about 8am and sent large plumes of black smoke over the capital as it spread to the surrounding buildings.

Firemen, civil defence personnel, police officers, military forces and private first-response companies were all involved in the effort to contain the fire, which stretched long into the evening.

Last night, firemen said the fire was continuing, but "contained".

Tankers drove in drinking and non-drinking water to provide fire appliances with supplies to battle against the flames, while one helicopter flew overhead and a remote-controlled helicopter filmed the scene.

An explosion in one of the burning warehouses was heard at 11am.

Colonel Jumaa Al Dehmani, General Director of Civil Defence, said three warehouse workers with minor injuries were treated at the scene then transferred to hospital.

His colleague, Lieutenant Yaser Aldarei, said strong winds had complicated the effort, increasing the chance of the blaze spreading.

Police said the cause of the fire was under investigation.

The general manager of Emirates Ceramics, which had stored material in one of the burning warehouses, said the fire had started in a building that housed sponge used for furniture. Mohsen Hankar added that the surrounding warehouses that were affected were housing cardboard boxes.

"The problem is the warehouses are situated so close together, their walls are made of highly flammable fibre, and they are filled with cardboard boxes, great fuel for fire," said Saeed Abdelminaam, a sales executive at the same company.

The storage facilities share walls, which helped the fire to spread. Only one of the five containers on the block was unaffected.

Some taxi drivers said they noticed the black smoke coming from the area as early as 8am, though Abu Dhabi police said their control room was not informed of the fire until 8.30am.

Col Al Dehmani appealed to factory owners, employees and warehouse tenants to adhere to rules of sound storage, maintain cleanliness, and regularly maintain fire prevention systems, especially during the summer heat.

tsubaihi@thenational.ae