Drama in Karama

‘We thought it was an earth­quake’

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Veathika Jain and Sar­wat Nasir @7DAYSUAE

A house­wife has de­scribed the mo­ment an ex­plo­sion shook her home in the Karama area of Dubai.

Madhu Bha­van, a 42-year-old In­dian ex­pat, said she ran out of her apart­ment build­ing when she heard the blast from the Us­tad restau­rant in the nearby Al Maskan Build­ing.

The gas blast tore through the restau­rant, shat­ter­ing win­dows and send­ing de­bris fly­ing across the street and into a petrol sta­tion.

Bha­van said: “It was a very loud bang. I could feel the build­ing shake. At first, I thought it was an earth­quake or a car hit­ting the build­ing.

“I went out­side to see what was go­ing on and there was de­bris ev­ery­where and I saw lots of smoke around the restau­rant. It was scary - like some­thing out of a movie.

“I’m happy my hus­band had left for work as he goes to that petrol sta­tion to get cig­a­rettes.”

A mem­ber of staff at the Emarat petrol sta­tion said that am­bu­lances ar­rived on the scene and treated one man who ap­peared to have re­ceived mi­nor in­juries.

A Dubai Civil De­fence spokesman said the blast was caused by a leak from a gas pipe lo­cated in the Us­tad restau­rant in Karama at 7am. “One per­son was injured. We man­aged to con­trol and ex­tin­guish the fire within five min­utes,” the spokesman said. Eye­wit­ness Steven Elleroa said: “I heard an ex­plo­sion at 6.50am, our en­tire build­ing shook and there was smoke ev­ery­where. There was dam­age all around but po­lice were here within 10 min­utes.” Al­lan Lopez, who works in nearby busi­ness Farm Fresh, usu­ally opens at 7am but was still wait­ing to get the all clear from the au­thor­i­ties more than two hours later, such was the level of dam­age caused by the ex­plo­sion. An­other fe­male res­i­dent of the build­ing, who asked not to be named, said she thought it was an earth­quake. The owner of the restau­rant, Mo­hammed Bi­neesh, was un­avail­able for com­ment. Deb­o­rah Pacheco, who lives in a build­ing op­po­site the Al Maskan Build­ing, said: “I was get­ting my daugh­ter ready for school and I felt a big shake fol­lowed by a loud noise. I ran out thinking my build­ing was on fire. “I went down and saw smoke com­ing out of the restau­rant and lots of glass, the cars parked nearby were dam­aged. All the cook­ing pots and pans were on the road. I asked if some­one called the po­lice. They said since the fire alarm went off the po­lice will come. “My neigh­bour was at the gas sta­tion fill­ing gas, he got hurt and his car was dam­aged as well,” she added. “He went to the am­bu­lance and got first aid. His car win­dow was shat­tered and he was bleed­ing, paramedics at­tended to him.” Pacheco said that if it hadn’t have been Ra­madan the sit­u­a­tion could have been a lot worse: “The restau­rant would nor­mally have opened for busi­ness at 7am,” she said.

BLAST SCENE: The gas blast caused dam­age to the restau­rant and nearby shop units

AFTERMATH: The dam­age caused by the ex­plo­sion

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