Authorities have confirmed that a fire ripped through a building of apartments in Dubai. The fire killed 16 people, and injured nine others.
The fire spread to the five-storey building in Al Murar, the historic Deira district of Dubai, located along the Dubai Creek. It is home to the gold and spice market, a popular tourist attraction.
The National, a state-owned newspaper, published a government statement that safety violations in the building may have been the cause of the fire.
The fire will be investigated to determine how it started.
The building is located in one of the oldest parts of the city, a densely-populated maze of streets and narrow alleys.
The practice of sharing a bed with multiple people is common amongst the workers who live in this area.
Apartment buildings are divided by makeshift barriers made of plywood, drywall, or shower curtains. This creates a serious fire risk.
Sky News Read More:
Sixty-five civilians among 56 people killed in heavy fighting in Sudan
Indian gangster-turned-politician shot dead on live TV
On Sunday, there were char marks on the apartment block, which houses an grocery store and businesses at the ground level.
The building was cordoned with yellow crime scene tape. There were still a lot of police in the area.
The Associated Press reported that a man working near the scene of the fire said there was an explosion, as if a gas cylinder caught fire. Then thick black smoke followed.
He said that neighbours thought people were sleeping inside, as is common for Muslims to fast during daylight hours in Ramadan.
The National cited a statement from Dubai Civil Defence that described the fire starting on the 4th floor.
Dubai Civil Defence “emphasized the importance for residents and building owners to comply with all security and safety guidelines and requirements in order to prevent accidents and save lives”, according a statement.