Fire in Deira!

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A fire broke out at a building just opposite my work place a few hours ago. The fire started very small at 5:30 pm. My colleagues and I ran to the meeting room to see the flame starting to get bigger and bigger, right in front of our eyes!

Surprisingly, the people in the building were so chill about it at first. I didn’t see any movements with a hint of panic. We even saw some taking their laundry hanging to dry in the balcony and peeking at the small fire.

fire 1

Fire in Deira from Sandier Pastures on Vimeo.

The fire started in a space between two buildings. The location of the buildings is in Salahuddin road, between Crowne Plaza Deira and Movenpick Deira hotels, right along the Dubai Metro Green Line elevated platform.

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It was a little bit windier than usual early this evening so it made the fire situation worse. After taking the above picture from my office building, we were asked to evacuate because the smoke is coming in to our direction. I grabbed my belongings and ran out. Most of my colleagues (Muslims) were out for their prayers and I met them outside, they left everything in our building: car keys, wallets, mobile phone etc. Police has prevented anyone from entering our office building.

The flames quickly spread, first to the right building and then in a few minutes, both buildings were engulfed.

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A few minutes after the fire started, Dubai Metro Green Line operations (both directions) was stopped. People were asked to move away as far as possible, I took the above photo at the entrance gate of Muraqqabat Police station.

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More sirens and the number of fire trucks increased. What made this scarier is that there is a petrol station RIGHT NEXT to the burning building and the Emarat petrol station was rained on by burning objects. Police drove us further away.

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Movenpick Hotel Deira tweeted that they have evacuated all their guests as precaution.

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salahuddin road closed

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Police restricted access to Salahuddin road on both directions and drove people all the way across the street to Best Western Inn (formerly Traders Hotel Deira).

Since the train operations were halted, I could not go home and so were the rest of the people there. So many were taking photos and videos and since I was stranded, I got busy tweeting the whole situation. You can see my live tweets about the fire on Twitter at @sandierpastures.

The Metro operations still hadn’t resumed by 7:30 pm, two hours after the fire started. Everyone was driven out of Salahuddin road so it was time for me to go home.  There was traffic all over but thankfully, I was able to get on a bus going to the direction of my home. The bus was so crowded but nevertheless I was happy to finally get home.

I am still reeling from the shock of what I saw. My mind and prayers are with the people who lived in the building. Please keep them in your prayers, that everyone got out safely and that they may find shelter and comfort tonight.

UPDATE: 11pm, 23 November 2015

Dubai Police is reporting no casualties or injuries. I suppose because most of the residents in the building were out working when the fire broke out except for a few having day offs. Glad to hear no one got hurt but still all of them are left homeless.

reason why I should always be shutter ready

Just when I thought what to write, a large explosion that shook windows and the ground occurred in Al Quoz Industrial area producing a massive black mushroom cloud in the sky this morning.

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~ smoke as seen from Al Nahda Road ~

We did not hear the explosion as we are not living near Al Quoz but the billowing smoke is very visible from our house and on the road on our way to work.

fire in al quoz

~ thick black smoke as seen in Salahuddin Road in Deira, near my office ~

Now, what exactly happened is still unclear but seems like a firecracker factory caught fire and exploded. Major roads near the area including Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road suffered severe traffic because of the incident. Injuries were reported but authorities have yet to confirm. Will post more about this later.

***** UPDATE *****

I went to the Immigration Department today to arrange visa amendment status of my husband and as soon as got out of the car, I was greeted by a really bad smell that looked like burning plastic. I can’t really describe it. The smoke was thicker there also because Al Quoz is near.

Gulf News had an update of the story with some shocking photos. A revelation that what I saw from my place earlier this morning was very far from what really happened in the affected area!

fire in al quoz

Witnesses said the explosion sounded like a volcanic eruption and from the looks of this mushroom cloud, I’d say, it really looks like a volcano has erupted!

fire in al quoz

This was the view of the sky taken by a photographer while facing Sheikh Zayed Road:

fire in al quoz

Last three photos taken from Gulf News.