Sharjah Al Baker Tower fire caused by cigarette

Authorities pay $700,000 as fire exacerbated by flammable construction

The fire was the second biggest residential fire; the largest in Kuwait Tower also involved a cigarette.
The fire was the second biggest residential fire; the largest in Kuwait Tower also involved a cigarette.

Forensic testing has revealed that the fire which erupted in January at Sharjah's Al Baker Tower 4, ravaging half of the tower and displaced 125 families, was caused by a tossed lit cigarette.

A police report in to the January 18 fire released this week revealed that a cigarette was thrown off an upper floor balcony and landed on the balcony of room 101 on the first floor, which was littered with clothes and papers. The fire caught hold and to spread rapidly.

No deaths or injuries were reported, but more than half of the residents lost their life savings and belongings in the blaze.

The building remained almost empty three months after the fire as residents claimed they felt unsafe living in the building and searched for alternative apartments with fire alarms and water sprinklers.

“The building's exterior was made of flammable materials and the weather and wind speed were major factors that caused the fire to spread quickly to other floors in the building,” said the forensic report.

Police said that the majority of fires occur due to the negligence of residents.

Due to the severity of the damage to the two year building, authorities stepped in and $700,000 was allocated to 51 families on instructions of Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah.

Each family received $14,000 to facilitate their search for a new home.

The fire is the second biggest residential fire after the Kuwait Tower building incident on July 2010 where the 14th floor of the building was completely destroyed and more than 200 families were displaced.

Officials say that fire was also caused by a carelessly disposed cigarette butt.


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