Victims of Dubai’s Tamweel Tower fire on Sunday are being forced to sign a waiver if they want to collect their belongings from above the 20th floor.
The waiver states that tenants are entering the 34-storey sky rise in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) at their own risk, suggesting the building is structurally unsafe above a certain height.
Residents have also heard rumours that they will be given accommodation at the Gloria Hotel in Internet City for one month – but they will need to cover the costs.
After initial fears they would be housed in the JLT area for only two days – with some tenants having to check out of their temporary accommodation on Tuesday – Tamweel has allocated space at Gloria Hotel apartments for some of the hundreds who have been left homeless.
However, Gulf Business understands for those who are lucky enough to be allocated space, they will need to pay for their room and claim the cost back.
Sarah Swain, who was asleep on the 14th floor when the fire broke out, spoke to Gulf Business about the immediate 48 hours after the devastating fire destroyed the building.
Swain, 31, who only moved to the UAE last month, was one of hundreds waiting to be let back into the building for a second day on Tuesday to collect her things and survey the damage.
“They were letting us back in on a floor-by-floor basis. They shouted out each floor and then [when it was her turn] made us run up to the 14th floor,” said Swain, speaking about Monday’s events.
“I managed to grab two suitcases, throw some stuff in and get out. People have been waiting outside today [Tuesday] waiting to be let back in.”
Swain, who has been staying at the Armada Hotel in JLT since the fire, said many tenants had complained the emergency water hoses did not work as they tried to repel the flames from their homes.
“One guy, who had been a fire-fighter back in the UK, went to grab the water hose after the fire spread to his neighbour’s apartment, but it was empty. Lots of people are saying the water hoses weren’t working,” said Swain.
“Nobody seems to have content insurance. Some people haven’t got anything, not even passports. One woman is still wearing the same clothes she came out in. We were very lucky.”
While the cause of the fire is still unknown, many have been blaming the building’s cladding for spreading the fire down the building, though whose responsibility it is for the building’s construction materials is a grey area as Tamweel, an Islamic finance provider, claims it is not the owner of the building.
“Tamweel is not the owner of the building. In reality the tower belongs to the owners of the units. All 160 residential units within the building are privately owned with title deeds registered in the Dubai Lands department in the name of the owners,” said a Tamweel spokesperson.
“The day to day running of the building is overseen by a Board appointed by members of the Owner’s association. It oversees the upkeep, maintenance and security of the building through a duly appointed Facility Manager and property insurer. During this difficult period, Tamweel is strongly supporting the relief efforts being currently run by the Owners Association in coordination with DMCC and will continue to do so.”