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Fri 19 Sep 2008 08:18 AM

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Police copter set for blitz on illegal buildings

Abu Dhabi Air Wing ordered to carry out aerial inspections in bid to prevent blaze repeat.

The helicopter unit of Abu Dhabi Police will carry out aerial inspections of properties in a bid to crackdown on illegal constructions.

General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, has ordered the Abu Dhabi Air Wing to conduct flyovers on the capital's high-rise buildings to establish whether or not some penthouses have been illegally constructed at the top of the buildings, news agency WAM reported.

The move is an attempt to stop illegal buildings being put up, similar to the wooden shack that was blamed for the blaze on the top of an apartment tower in Airport Road, Abu Dhabi earlier this week.

"These illegal penthouses are often made of prefabs and lacking in basic safety standards. And when fire breaks out, the situation becomes extremely messy as civil defence forces would not have easy access," said Brigadier Omeir Mohammed Al Muhairi, director of police.

Al Muhairi said the Air Wing flights will be able to take photos of the illegal penthouses and tip off the authorities concerned.

He urged the general public not to seek accommodation in such facilities which are not only illegal but also dangerous.

A total of 67 people, including a number of firefighters, were injured in the Abu Dhabi blaze in Tuesday, which left a number of families homeless.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE's Deputy Prime Minister, has issued directives to provide suitable homes for the fire victims until the building is renovated.

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