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Al Wahda Mall fire: Civil Defence warns shops to follow fire safety regulations

posted on 05/12/2013: 3613 views

A late night fire that caused the closure of Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi yesterday (Tuesday) has prompted authorities to warn warehouses and shops on fire safety measures.

Although there were no casualties, injuries or major damage to the properties, the mall was closed for the day, according to a spokesman of the mall. A decision on reopening would be taken by late evening (Wednesday), he said.

The fire erupted in a warehouse for textiles and plastic items late on Tuesday and was immediately doused by the civil defence. The investigations to determine the cause of fire are progressing, a statement issued by the General Directorate of Civil Defence in Abu Dhabi said yesterday.

Even after dousing the fire, the firelighters conducted an extensive cooling process to prevent any furthers eruptions, Captain Abdullah Al Tamimi, head of public relations and customer service at the directorate, said.

He urged owners of warehouses and shops, especially those who deal in textiles and plastic items, to strictly follow fire safety regulations. He reminded them to install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers at their premises and ensure that they are always operational.

Doors and windows must be free from any obstacles. The buildings must have proper ventilation, especially those storing flammable materials and chemicals that may catch fire in high temperature, the official warned.

An employee at the mall said the entire floor where the fire erupted was flooded with water used by the civil defence. "The whole floor was totally wet; nobody could walk. I think that's why shops could not be opened.”

The spokesman of the mall management told Gulf News there was thick smoke inside the mall, which disrupted the operation of the mall on Wednesday morning. "We did not want to take any chance considering the safety and security of staff and customers, and the mall was closed for inspections,” he said.

Although the incident happened on Tuesday night, the mall was cordoned off by the police and civil defence on Wednesday morning, witnesses said.

"No one was allowed to enter the mall. There was a traffic bottleneck in the area due to the presence of civil defence trucks,” an employee said.

A staff member at a shop in the mall said the fire erupted around 12.30am. "Some clothes were burned but the civil defence reached the spot and doused the fire immediately,” he said. – Gulf News


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