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Shops in Sharjah blast met safety standards

Sharjah: The shops affected by the gas explosion last Saturday were compliant with the rules and had adhered to the safety standards in storing gas cylinders, a Sharjah Civil Defence official said on Friday.

"The gas explosion came as a surprise because inspectors from Civil Defence are constantly monitoring restaurants and cafeterias, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are compliant with the safety preventive measures," said the official from Sharjah Civil Defence.

He explained that the Civil Defence Department has been taking preventive measures in order to minimise the safety risks and that in coordination with Sharjah Municipality, inspectors carry out regular inspections in buildings, shops, workshops in industrial areas and workers' accommodations.

Up to 10 shops and 15 vehicles were damaged due to a gas explosion that occurred at 2.30am on Al Wahda Street. However, four of the commercial shops suffered the most damage.

One of the severely damaged shops that were not insured included Jawdat Al Ikhtiyar, which sold cosmetics, perfumes and watches. Mohammad Islam, the manager, explained that he opened the shop three months ago and was planning on getting it insured soon.

"I was so busy with the shop that I kept postponing [in] having it insured. I worked for 23 years and all my life savings went into setting it up, and now I have lost Dh130,000. I have one employee, and since the blast we visit the shop every day to clean it up. I have lost everything," Islam lamented, as he pointed out that a case has been filed with Sharjah Police and that he does not know whether he will be compensated in court or not.

Court settlement

A spokesperson of Sharjah Police said that majority of the affected shops were not insured.

"The few shops that were insured will not have to worry, but the other ones that were affected the most will have to settle the case in court. The investigation is still under way but we can confirm that the gas explosion occurred in a cafeteria, which was not insured," said the police official. According to the preliminary report by the Sharjah Police Forensic Laboratory, the explosion was caused due to a leakage of gas from a gas cylinder, and the police official said that it was too early in the investigation to determine who was responsible for the blast.


As a result of the frequent fires that broke out in the city of Sharjah, several government authorities joined to form the Sharjah Emergency Inspection Committee in 2006.

According to the Emergency Inspection Committee, companies found in violation of fire-safety regulations could be fined up to Dh500,000. Gas cylinders should be stored in a well-ventilated cabinet, away from both direct sunlight and flammable or combustible materials.

Residents and restaurant employees should ensure that both the gas cylinder and the gas cooker valves are closed prior to leaving the premises.

Fire mishaps on record


May 21 More than 10 shops and 15 vehicles were gutted in Sharjah in the early hours of the morning due to a gas cylinder explosion.April 2 Fire broke out at a petrochemical company in Sharjah Free Zone.March 24 A massive fire broke out in Sharjah Industrial Area 12.March 8 Fire gutted an apartment on Al Wahda Street, Sharjah.January 9 Fire gutted four warehouses in Sharjah Industrial Area 6.


November 7 A massive fire broke out gutting five warehouses and a plastics factory.July 6 Fire broke out in a 14-storey building in Bu Tinah area spreading panic among residents.May 11 A large fire in Sharjah broke out at the National Paints.May 3 A large fire gutted a used tyre warehouse.April 29 A large fire erupted at a warehouse containing plastic materials in Industrial Area 6.April 16 A massive fire broke out in Industrial Area 17.April 8 A large fire gutted three company premises and also spread to a residential building in Industrial area 6 in Sharjah.March 8 A huge fire broke out in Industrial Area 13, Sharjah, destroying two warehouses and affecting 24 others.

— Compiled from Gulf News archives

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