Jojo Dass, a Filipino journalist working with the Dubai-based Filipino Times, told InterAksyon.com most of the Filipino residents of the five-story Al Shamsi building were at work when the blaze broke out at around 5 p.m. The fire was put out only at 10:30 p.m.
The Filipino Times reported that the blazw broke out in Block B “and rapidly spread to Blocks A and C as firefighters battled to prevent flames spreading to nearby buildings, including a petrol station and a five-star hotel.”
Dass said many of the displaced Filipinos are worried about the loss of their passports and other important documents. He added Consul General Paul Cortez is leading efforts to assist the affected Filipinos, with a number of them taken to a local hotel, and coordinating with Dubai police. The building has been closed while the fire is being investigated.
At the same time, Dass noted a “bright side” as other Filipinos and a number of civic groups sent food, clothes and water to the affected OFWs.
He said shelter is also a pressing need.
“Malamig na ngayon dito, mahirap matulog sa la- bas (It’s now cold here, it’s hard to be sleeping outside),” he said.
Dass could not give an estimate of the number of affected Filipinos but quoted some of the affected workers as saying they make up around 80 percent of residents of the Al Shamsi, a massive structure composed of six blocks.
“Three of the blocks were burned beyond repair,” Dass said.(interkasyon)