For six days now, close to 120 families living in a 17-storey residential building in Al Nahda area are stranded outside their homes. A fire that gutted the electrical room of the building has cut power and water supply to the flats in the building, popularly known as the Corniche Al Madina Supermarket building, which houses over 700 residents. Most of them have temporarily moved out after the fire on Saturday morning at 5.45am (June 16).
“Each floor has about 10 apartments. The building houses families and a lot of children live here,” said Rakesh Sadasivan, a resident. Sadasivan stays in the second floor and has temporarily moved to a relative’s house. The residents said a short-circuit could have started the fire in the electrical room. They allege that the real estate company that owns the building is not doing anything to fix the problem.
“How do you expect us to live there,’’ said an angry Sadasivan. “It’s summer and living in such hot conditions is impossible. We cannot move any of our possessions out because the lift is not functioning,” he added. The residents have also approached the Indian Consulate for a remedy to the problem. Consulate officials who came to inspect the building have assured the residents that the paper work for repairs will be pushed forward.
Meanwhile, an official from the real estate company said that a generator has been installed in the building and water supply will be restored today. “We are waiting for a report from the police after which we will begin repair work immediately. The problems will be fixed in 10 days,” the official stated.
On the other hand, the residents suspect that the work will take close to a month to be completed. “The damage in the electrical room is extensive. I do not think it could be completed in 10 days,” said a resident.
Many residents are having a tough time as they have moved to hotel apartments and some to their relatives’ houses. They have requested for alternative accommodation till the repair work is done.
Abdul Rashid, an Indian national, lives on the ninth floor of the building. “I have been living here for three years now. I was out of town when the fire broke out. Currently, I have shifted a few of my things to a friend’s office space,” he said. “I’ve never had any major problems with the building. It’s maintained well, it’s neat and this is a very unfortunate accident. I am hoping they will sort it out soon,” added Rashid.
The Corniche Al Madina supermarket owner Muneer P.K. said that the fire has been very bad for his business. “I have incurred a loss of about Dh30,000. I had to throw away a lot of perishable items and a lot of products are damaged now because there is no proper refrigeration,” he added.