DUBAI // Four builders were rescued from a burning building that sent clouds of smoke into the air over Downtown Dubai on Sunday.
Fire crews climbed the under-construction Fountain Views tower to reach a labourer stranded on the 16th floor, while three others were rescued from the sixth floor.
Smoke quickly filled up the interior of the building and billowed from the lower floors, creating a pall and could be seen from kilometres around away.
Heavy traffic built up as civil defence closed surrounding roads to bring in extra crews and tackle the flames. Altogether, eight stations sent firefighters.
The rescued men were treated for smoke inhalation, said Dubai Civil Defence.
Fountain Views is close to The Address Downtown hotel, which was badly damaged in a blaze on New Year’s Eve last year, and Sunday’s fire will add to debate about the safety of high-rise buildings.
One construction worker, a mason, said no work was scheduled overnight but that a handful of men were in the building.
“Our first shift starts about 6am to 6.30am, and during the night, only three to four people were there at the site,” said the 50-year-old, who asked not to be named.
“By the grace of Allah, everyone is safe. But I felt really bad when I saw the construction site.
“We work so hard to build these beautiful buildings, and when they face any mishap we feel like it happened in our own house. Hopefully, we will start working on the site soon.”
A couple staying at Al Murooj Rotana hotel, opposite Fountain Views, woke to sirens.
“When I looked from my window I could see the fire coming out of the construction building across the road,” said British tourist Adam James, 65.
“Within minutes, we saw the fire brigade, police and ambulance were right there,” he said. “We also saw a police helicopter in the sky. Within an hour, we felt things were under control.”
Lt Col Ahmed Burqibah, deputy director of search and rescue at Dubai Police, said the men were led to safety as crews extinguished the fire. The cause is still being investigated.
“There was one man on the 16th floor suffering from smoke inhalation, so we brought him down first,” he said. “He was treated at the scene and taken to hospital. It was a minor injury and he is in good condition now.
“The other three, with whom we were in constant touch, were on the sixth floor.”
Lt Col Burqibah, who was at the scene on Sunday morning, said fire crews spoke with the three men in the building by phone, and told them to take stairs to the 34th floor, and then back down another staircase that was not affected by the fire.
“We still don’t know the exact reason behind the fire, but that is up to the experts to determine,” he said. “Thank God, no one was seriously injured.”