Mourners bid farewell to Abu Dhabi fire victims

Abu Dhabi: In his 25-year career as supervisor of Baniyas cemetery, Mohammad Nasser Abu Bakr lamented on Tuesday that he has never come across such a devastating tragedy as the deaths of eight family members in a villa fire yesterday.

“I never imagined that one day I would make funeral arrangements for eight people from the same family,” Abu Bakr told Gulf News as he waited for the funeral of Emiratis who died in a fire in Baniyas.

Watch: Workers at graveyard are doing preparations for the funeral.

No stranger to death, Abubacker said he has down the years seen deaths of perhaps two or three people from the same family in road accidents in the past,noting it was rare.

“But eight people from the same family… that is unimaginable,” the supervisor said.

Hundreds of Emiratis paid their last respects to the deceased during a funeral at the Baniyas graveyard in the evening.

Watch: People waiting for the funeral at Baniyas graveyard.

Family members of the deceased were not in a position to speak to the media.

The community in Baniyas was still reeling from the shock of the incident and was visibly shaken by the day’s events.

Mohammad Sultan Al Katheeri, 20, said he can’t recollect a tragedy of this magnitude.

“We all are shocked,” he said.

Watch: Eight graves that were prepared at Baniyas graveyard.

Ali Mansour, 39, a government employee, said although he had heard about some major fire accidents in other emirates, it was the first time he came across such a tragedy in Abu Dhabi.

“Everybody is upset. It has caused shock in the entire UAE community,” Mansour said.

He said people will now be more careful about fire prevention in their homes, he said.

Watch: People waiting for the funeral at Baniyas graveyard.

An Emirati firefighter who did not want to be named suggested people should be proactive in installing devices such as smoke detectors in homes.

“It is not costly at all,” he said.

Ali Al Mansouri, 25, a student, said: “We all are very sad and we cannot say anything but pray for the deceased.”

Abdulla Al Mozaini, 39, a businessman from Al Ain said the news sent shockwaves across the community in Al Ain as well.

Saeed Mana Al Shamsi, 40, another businessman from Al Ain, said he did not have words to express his condolences to the bereaved family.

The graveyard supervisor said they swung into action under the instruction of their manager Saeed Mohammad Al Amri as soon as they received the news in the morning. “We are very sad,” Abu Bakr said.

He said they are always ready to work round the clock whenever there is a requirement. The graveyard is under Abu Dhabi City Municipality, which has put in place a contingency plan to deal with any emergency.

“We quickly take action to get everything ready. But today was a difficult day; it was difficult to comprehend,” Abu Bakr said.


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