Safety measures violated at fire ravaged Jebel Ali labour camp
Over 3000 construction workers must be relocated after large fire breaks out at Ali Mousa and Sons labour camp
A huge fire all but destroyed a Jebel Ali labour camp last week. It is estimated that the camp, which housed around 3500 construction workers, is 70% gutted.
The cause of the fire at the camp owned by Ali Mousa and Sons Contracting Company near Interchange 6 in the Jebel Ali area is still unknown and a police investigation has now started. Civil defence sources said that the fire broke out at around midnight last Saturday and was brought under control in about four hours. The damage at the site has yet to be estimated.
Basal Mohammad, project manager of the Ali Mousa said the workers who were based at the labour camp will be relocated to two different camps, one in Al Aweer in Dubai and one in Al Dhaid in Sharjah. However, some of the construction workers will have to stay in cabins that were unaffected by the blaze at the fire ravaged Jebel Ali camp.
Syed Kamel, an Egyptian construction worker, said he was working onsite for Al Nakheel Projects, around 3km from the camp, when he heard a blast. “I saw lots of thick black smoke curling towards the sky. All of us ran to our camp to see it engulfed in flames. We wanted to rush into the burning camp and save our belongings and passports, but gas cylinders were exploding intermittently.”
Civil Defence estimates suggest that they were around 400 plywood cabins measuring 3.6m by 3m in a cluster, each fitted with a gas cylinder. Around 500 workers who had finished the night shift were in the camp when the fire broke out, while the remaining 3000 labourers were working at three construction sites.
Mohammad Beddah, acting director of Civil Defence, said the camp had violated several different safety measures. “There was a diesel oil tank kept very close to operate generators. The tank has a capacity of 10 000 gallons. Equipment should never be kept near housing. If that had caught fire, this whole area would have been on fire.”