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Tue 25 Sep 2007 06:12 PM

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Third blaze hits Dubai free zone

Latest fire causes severe damage to warehouse, raises questions over safety of facilities in Jafza.

A fire tore through a warehouse at Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai on Tuesday, causing severe damage to the building.

It is the third blaze to strike the free zone in the last month following a fire at a plastic packaging factory and the inferno that erupted when a chemical storage depot close to Jebel Ali Port went up in flames.

The string of recent incidents has raised questions over the safety of facilities in the free zone.

The latest blaze broke out at around 1.39pm at facility containing cottons and wood owned by Hadeed Trading.

Authorities said there were no casualties or injuries reported and the fire was brought under control quickly.

EHS, the Environment, Health and Safety regulatory arm of state-controlled conglomerate Dubai World, which owns the free zone, the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but that investigations are ongoing.

EHS said it sent eight fire fighting units and a team of 30 fire fighters to the scene, which was also attended by two fire fighting units from Dubai Civil Defence.

“The fire broke in the warehousing facility which contained cottons and wood. The fire fighting personnel succeeded in preventing the fire from spreading to the adjacent facilities,” Nutankumar Manvatkar, Vice President of EHS Fire Department, said in a statement.

Last month’s fire at a chemical storage depot near Jebel Ali Port triggering explosions that sent debris up to 300 metres in the air and sending huge clouds of smoke into the air that covered large parts of Dubai.

The fire is estimated to have caused over $4 million worth of damage.

The incident follows a similar one at Sharjah’s main cargo port, which forced it to close for seven hours.

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