Drama in Karama
‘We thought it was an earthquake’
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