11 labourers killed as blaze hits Dubai housing unit
Dubai, August 27, 2008
A fire that broke out in a bachelors’ housing unit in Naif area in Dubai killed 11 labourers and injured six others, according to local media reports.
A Dubai police official reportedly said that the blaze, which started early Wednesday, has killed 11 people and injured six.
India’s consul in Dubai, Venu Rajamony, said 10 Indians were among those killed in the fire.
Police instructed bystanders to leave the scene in the early afternoon as officials continued their investigation.
Stale smoke could be detected among the narrow lanes filled with shops and leading to the destroyed accommodation, while dozens of shopkeepers and pedestrians looked on as bodies were placed in ambulances at 4.15pm local time.
A watchman at a nearby shop said that the area was closed until 1.30pm, and motorists were prevented from passing through.
Another police official from Dubai’s criminal investigation department, said up to 1,000 labourers were crammed in the 30-room housing block.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorised to speak to the media, says the fire is under investigation.
Local media also reported that the lease holders of the destroyed accommodation have been arrested.
International rights organisations have long criticised appalling conditions and safety standards for foreign labourers, mostly Asians, who work in the oil-rich Gulf.