A massive fire has destroyed one of Sharjah's tallest buildings, leaving hundreds, including Indians, homeless though no casualties were reported, according to media reports on Wednesday.
The fire started in the 49-storey Abbco Tower's 10th floor on Tuesday night, the Khaleej Times reported. It was brought under control after a three-hour operation by firefighters.
While seven people were treated at the site for minor injuries, five others were sent to hospital with signs of suffocation. No casualties were reported.
Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence Colonel Sami Al Naqbi said the department was alerted about the fire at about 9.00 pm and it was brought under control by 11.55 pm.
Naqbi lauded the firefighters for saving all lives and for evacuating nearby buildings to stop suffocation. The cause of the fire is being investigated and total damages being estimated.
The fire damaged cars in the parking area as burning debris fell from the tower and strong winds spread the flame, the Gulf News reported.
Over 250 families were evacuated from the building, which has 36 residential floors and 20 levels of car parking.
Each floor has 12 apartments, the Gulf News reported, adding rents for studio apartments is around 18,000 Dirhams yearly and around 30,000 Dirhams for one-bedroom apartments.
Speaking to the newspaper, an Indian tenant from the building's 17th floor, Nelson Machado said, "There was smoke rising from the floor. My brother and I went down the staircase, with just our phones. Everything I own is inside that flat."
Another Indian tenant, Ajay Prabhu, returned to his home home on Wednesday to find nothing but rubble.
"Luckily, my wife is in India right now. I don't know what's the condition of our apartment from the inside. It is on the side that was not on fire. I only have my wallet and phone, everything else - passport, degrees, documents - are in the apartment," he told the daily.