10 Indians killed in Dubai fire accident

August 27th, 2008 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Aug 27 (IANS) Eleven expatriate workers, including 10 Indians, have died in a fire that engulfed a bachelors’ accommodation here that housed around 500 people, officials said Wednesday.”Eleven workers were killed in the incident on Tuesday and 10 of them have been identified as Indians,” an official at the Indian consulate here told IANS after Indian Consul General in Dubai Venu Rajamony visited the accident site Wednesday.

“The other victim, we have been told, was a Bangladeshi. Most of the Indians who died hailed from Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh,” he added.

The 10 Indian victims have been identified as: Gilli Bakkanna, Kuku Sanjeev, Talari Gangadhar, Devarajanna, Chinnayya Talari, Talari Sudarshan, Talari Raju, Gangaram, another Gangaram from Pachnnarkuda and Gangadhar.

The workers were apparently employed by various companies.

The fire broke out early Tuesday morning at a villa that was turned into a bachelors’ accommodation. The house was located in Naif area in the Deira locality in the heart of Dubai.

The fire began at around 5:30 a.m. when most of the men were sleeping, which is why casualties were high, officials said.

Dozens of workers were injured in the fire.

“The roof of the villa where the bachelors lived collapsed and aggravated the situation,” Brigadier Abdul Jalil Mahdi, deputy director of Dubai Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for Preventative Security, told reporters here.

“We cordoned off the area soon after the fire erupted and all the people from the neighbouring villa complex were evacuated immediately,” another civil defence official said.

Though the exact number of workers who lived in the villa could not be confirmed, local media reports here put the figure at 500.

“The building had 30 rooms and approximately 500 men were housed in the complex illegally, with some 20 people sleeping in one room alone,” Pulip Sankar, who survived the incident with minor injuries, told the Khaleej Times newspaper.

Meanwhile, authorities here have arrested the two lease-holders of the villa and have launched an investigation into the incident.

Dubai Police’s Deputy Commandant General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina told Gulf News that police were looking for anyone who could give any information that could help the investigation.

“The house where the fire broke out had partitions and the police is waiting for a Dubai Municipality report to confirm whether the partitions were authorised,” he said.

“There were also additional electricity meters installed in the house. We need to check if they were authorised,” he said.

Indian consulate officials here have promised all possible help to the families of the victims and assistance in the repatriation of their bodies back to India.

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