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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Woman dies in hospital 9 days after Sharjah fire that killed five others

Salma Babakir succumbed to her injuries at Al Kuwaiti Hospital

The fire tore through at least two apartments, including this one, killing five people in total. A further six residents and ten emergency service personnel were taken to hospital. Courtesy Sharjah Civil Defence
The fire tore through at least two apartments, including this one, killing five people in total. A further six residents and ten emergency service personnel were taken to hospital. Courtesy Sharjah Civil Defence

A woman who was injured in a fire that killed five people, including two children, nine days ago died of her injuries in hospital on Wednesday.

Salma Babakir, Sudanese, 39, was admitted to Al Kuwaiti Hospital for smoke inhalation on February 19.

Hospital director Amna Ali Karam said the woman suffered from asthma and was in "very bad condition" when first brought to hospital.

The woman and her husband were among 16 people who were hospitalised following the fire that tore through two apartments in a building Al Abutaina in Sharjah, killing five including a mother and her two sons as well as a Pakistani woman and an Indian man.

The fire started in an air conditioning unit in an Emirati woman’s apartment in the early hours of Monday last week. The woman took her three children to safety then returned to the first floor and started knocking on apartments doors to wake tenants up.

The woman lived on the third floor of the building with her 48-year-old husband Ahmad Babkir, an electricity authority worker.

On the morning of the fire, Mr Babakir awoke to screams from outside.

“I thought it was a fight. I turned the lights on to check what was happening and noticed it was 3am exactly. I smelled fire but hadn't seen anything yet,” he told The National at the time.

He said he opened the bedroom door and was met by heavy smoke.

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“I rushed to my sleeping wife, she is asthmatic, and I found that she was almost unconscious. I soaked a piece of cloth in water and covered her face,” he said.

He said he tried to escape down the stairs but there were no lights and the heat forced him back.

“We couldn't even make it back to our flat. I heard the screams of an Arab woman and lost consciousness after that,” he said.

Mr Babakir, who works for the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, woke up in hospital and was told that his wife is in intensive care.

The grieving husband is now preparing to fly his wife’s body home for burial.

Mr Babakir’s nephew, Mohammed Kamal, 29, who worked with the couple at Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, told The National that they had been married for ten years, but did not have any children.

“He is devastated. They have been together for ten years and worked at the same place together. They would go to work together and return home together,” said Mr Kamal.

Three days after the fire, according to Mr Kamal, Mr Babakir was discharged, but was informed that his wife’s condition was critical and she may not survive. He then booked for her mother and sister to come to the UAE to be with her.

Six residents, nine police officers and a firefighter were also hospitalised for smoke inhalation but were discharged later the same day.

After the fire, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah, ordered that fire alarms be installed in all of the emirate’s buildings.

Seven people were killed in 694 fires in Sharjah last year, a seven per cent decrease from the 746 blazes recorded in 2016.

Col Sami Al Naqbi, director-general, said most fires were caused by faulty electrical appliances, overloading power supplies, negligence, and damaged electric cables.

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