[VIDEO] Building ablaze near Dubai Mall: Firms not following UAE Fire Code?

April 2, 2017 10:08 am

* Fire broke out at the Fountain Views tower early Sunday morning

* Roads leading to MBR Boulevard from Cinema Crossroads and Interchange 7 leading to Burj Khalifa were closed

* There were no reports of injuries

A fire broke out in at the Fountain Views tower under-construction tower near Dubai Mall on Sunday morning. It is now under control, says Dubai Civil Defence.

Dubai Media Office informed citizens in a series of tweets about the fire at 7.30am. The tweets said that Dubai Civil Defence had it under control while cooling operations were under way and ambulance units were on site.

Roads leading to MBR Boulevard from Cinema Crossroads were closed and traffic was diverted to the flyover. Interchange 7 leading to Burj Khalifa was closed and vehicles of employees were redirected to the Fashion Parking​. There were no reports of injuries.​​

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New UAE fire code

An updated UAE Fire and Life Safety Code was unveiled at the Intersec 2017 exhibition in Dubai on January 22, 2017.

The new code was launched by Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) officials. Lt Taher Hassan Altaher, head of DCD’s inspection and permitting section, said the 1,384-page code – 677 pages longer than its 2011 version – has been prepared based on international references and feedback from consultants, contractors, and local property developers such as Emaar and Deyaar.

A “new connection between fire fighters and safety engineers” has been developed through the code, Altaher said.

Guidelines and Code Compliance

The new code includes guidelines related to cladding, such as testing, installation and [maintenance] responsibilities of each building development party – such as clients, consultants and contractors.

Altaher said: “Existing towers already have [DCD] approvals and don’t have to change it. Cladding sections undergoing maintenance would have to comply with the new code.”

Since each building’s maintenance schedule for cladding is different, Altaher explained, no deadline has therefore been set for their replacement with new guidelines.

A minimum fine of AED500 ($136) will be levied for non-compliance with the code’s new guidelines, Altaher said. An inspector will be based in each fire station who will be assigned a locality for patrol. This inspector will keep track of how many buildings have been inspected, how many comply – or not – with the code, and whether they have been fined.

Civil Defence officials said the code would include fines of up to AED50,000 ($13,613) for each fault uncovered by inspectors, but experts said the fines should be more severe.

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Fire accidents down

The Ministry of Interior revealed a 31 per cent drop in fire accidents in buildings and establishments in 2016, compared to the previous year.

Fire accidents dropped from 3,388 in 2015 to 2,352 in 2016, thanks to timely response to fire accidents, alertness, the introduction of modern fire prevention technology, qualified firefighters, sustained public awareness campaigns against risks of fires, and intensified efforts to meet challenges as a united team, guided by an integrated and co-ordinated doctrine, Major General Jassem Mohammed Al Marzouqi, General Commander of Civil Defence at the Ministry of Interior, said.

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Al Marzouqi said: ‘‘Fatalities from fires also declined from 23 in 2015 to 16 in 2016, a decrease of 52 per cent. Fires at households went down by 7 per cent in 2016, when compared to the 2015 figures.”

Figures showed that civil defence inspectors had visited and inspected 4,167 buildings and establishments in the first half of 2016.

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Hina Latif
By Hina Latif
Hina Latif has over six years of media and publishing experience under her belt, spanning multiple magazines and a newspaper in the UAE. She studied creative writing at the University of Oxford and has a Master’s degree in Journalism.