Fire destroys $9m apartment building in Bahrain
Manama, August 28, 2013
Fire ripped through a BD3.5 million ($9.24 million) apartment building in the Juffair district of Bahrain yesterday (August 27) just weeks before it was due to open, a report said.
Two firemen were injured when one of 17 fire engines dispatched to tackle the blaze overturned, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The US Navy sent its own fire engine from its regional headquarters, also located in Juffair, to help.
Four properties surrounding the burning building were evacuated amid fears that the fire might spread and police cordoned off the area, with tow trucks brought in to remove all cars parked outside.
Water was drained from two swimming pools located in neighbouring private villas as firemen spent four hours bringing the blaze under control.
The smoke could be seen as far away as Salmabad after the entire building went up in flames, with the fire spreading quickly once exposed insulation material caught fire.
It is understood the fire, which started at around 8.30am, broke out when a team was carrying out copper welding work for the air-conditioning system. No injuries were reported.
"There was BD28,000 worth of air-conditioning units, over 74 large flat screen TVs, beds, furniture and it's all gone," joint owner Ahmed Al Bannat told the GDN.
"The land cost me BD600,000 and the construction was over BD3 million. The building was going to be opened in about 10 to 12 days - now it is going to take forever to deal with the insurance companies before I can start construction again. The exact cost of the damage will take days to figure out."
He added the property would now have to be assessed for structural damage in the coming days.
NSA Bahrain Fire Rescue chief Will Shanholtzer said it responded as part of a mutual agreement with the local authorities.
"The building went up in flames fast because the whole outside of the building is coated in petroleum-based insulation," he explained.
"The urethane insulation siding was used to insulate the whole building and it is very flammable when exposed, so once part of it caught fire the rest did."
Shanholtzer revealed the main concern was that a massive crane attached to the building, which appeared to be pitching to the right, could fall.
"If the temperature of the metal on the crane reaches 1,300F (704C) the crane is likely to fall," he said. – TradeArabia News Service