Dubai's Naif villa fire survivors face an uphill task

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Dubai, Aug 29 : The survivors of the fire that broke out in a heavily overcrowded Naif villa in Dubai where 500 Indian workers were living, face an uphill task.

Like any other morning Suresh Kumar, a 25-year-old tile fixer, was making paratha (Indian bread) together with another roommate when Tuesday's blaze broke out.

Kumar, who has lived in the townhouse for almost a year, is one of the survivors of the fire that claimed 11 lives. According to him, the house had 45 rooms.

"I lived in room number 22 on the second floor together with 14 other people," the Gulf News quoted Kumar, as saying.

"On the tenth day of every month an agent used to come to the building to collect the rent," he said.

The building, which is occupied by bachelors, not only had partitions that were not licensed by Dubai Municipality, but the entire second floor of the townhouse was built without approval.

This together with overcrowding aggravated the fire situation.

Kumar said he was forced to live in a crowded room because he could not afford anything else due to the skyrocketing rents of Dubai.

When asked if the tenants had received warnings from the municipality concerning the violations he said: "I have a feeling that the agents might have got them and never notified us about them."

Police have detained four people including the property owner, real estate broker and two leaseholders who will be referred to the Public Prosecution in the next couple of days, according to Brigadier Abdul Jalil Mahdi, Deputy Director of Dubai Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for Preventative Security.

ANI

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