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Thu 25 Sep 2008 03:31 AM

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Sharjah warehouse destroyed in massive blaze

Flames from lubricant storage unit with history of violations reach height of 30m, smoke 3,000m.

A massive fire gutted a warehouse in the Saja'a industrial area of Sharjah storing 200 barrels of lubricant oil, on Wednesday.

Civil Defence, Sharjah Police and ambulances rushed to the site after being alerted and firefighters battled for three hours to extinguish the blaze.

UAE daily the National said the company - which cannot be named due to pending charges - had a history of safety lapses and had been subject to fines.

Flames reached a height of 30 metres and smoke 3,000 metres after the lubricants stored in about 200 barrels exploded after the blaze, the paper quoted Colonel Mohammad Eid, Director of Operations Department as saying.

Colonel Mohammad said the fire started at 10am and was put out at 1pm.

First Lieutenant Khalid Al-Suwaidi, Sharjah Police officer on duty, said the warehouse violated safety rules and the owner was warned three months ago, but failed to comply, which prompted the concerned authorities to disconnect water and electricity supplies.

The company had continued to operate, however, the paper said.

The blaze was the second at an oil company in less than a week.No injuries were reported.