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Khaleej Times

DUBAI, Feb 2: Two Asian labourers and a foreman of the sub-contracting company hired to execute air-conditioning work at Fortune Tower were yesterday referred to the Dubai Public Prosecution.

They have all been charged with negligence, thereby causing fire in the under-construction building off Shaikh Zayed Road on January 18. Two workers were killed and over 60 injured in the inferno. The Civil Defence team managed to extricate 300 workers from the tower, including 61 trapped on the 34th and 35th floors.

Brigadier Mattar Khamis Al Mazina, Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation, Dubai Police, said the two labourers of the sub-contracting company were using a welding flame, instead of drilling machine, to make a hole in the air-conditioning water pipe. This, he said, heated up the duct and resulted in the fire.

Al Mazina said the concerned safety official of the sub-contractor had also failed to obtain permission from the main contractor before starting the welding work.

The General Department of Criminal Investigation faced several challenges in its probe into the cause of the fire as the staircase and lifts were badly damaged.

According to Nagm Eldin Wahba, a fire investigation expert, the fire started on the tenth floor and was caused by the electrical welding flame. It made inflammable particles drop down, spreading both upwards and downwards, to the basement and upper floors of the building, he explained.

When questioned, the labourers had initially denied having carried out welding work to make a hole in the AC pipe, but later confessed using the welding flame after a part of the drilling machine broke.


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