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Zen Tower residents allowed access to flats

Police officials check IDs of tenants and homeowners and escort them up to their apartments as investigations into blaze continue

Faisal Masudi/Gulf NewsResidents of fire-hit Zen Tower in Dubai Marina were being allowed to visit their apartments, floor by floorPHOTO

Dubai: Residents of Zen Tower in Dubai Marina, which was engulfed by a major fire on Sunday, were allowed to visit their apartments on Wednesday by Dubai Police.

It follows a more limited access on Tuesday.

Zen Tower, which houses 74 apartments, was partly damaged by a fire on Sunday. One man had suffered a minor injury, according to officials, with all residents evacuated to safety. The cause of the fire is under investigation and police are controlling access to the tower.

On Wednesday, dozens of residents, who include tenants and homeowners, gathered outside the 15-storey tower, waiting for their turn to visit their apartments. They had showed up to assess any damage to their homes and retrieve belongings. Police officials stationed on site checked residents’ IDs and escorted them up the stairs to the flats. Residents said they listed and signed a record of the items they took with them, as required by police.

The process was slow, with access granted floor by floor, starting with the lower floors and gradually moving up. Only a few floors had been cleared for access by 1.30pm.

“I didn’t get permission from the police station on Tuesday to visit Zen Tower, but today, on Wednesday, I came directly here. There’s water everywhere in my apartment and I don’t know if the appliances and electronics will work again. But I’m happy there’s not too much damage. I’ve picked up a few things and I’m going back to the hotel,” said Marico, a Portuguese tenant who lives on the second floor.

Marcio, who only gave his first name, said, like many other tenants, he is staying in Ghaya Grand Hotel in Dubai, which offered complimentary stay and meals for the affected residents. According to the residents, the initial three-day complimentary stay has been extended to cover a total period of one week.

Marcio said: “The police have been very helpful and so has the hotel. I’ll probably have to rent a new place as this situation could take some time. I still have one and a half month left on my lease; the idea is to get the rent balance back. Let’s see what happens.”

Arun, an Indian expat who lives on the sixth floor, also said police were allowing residents access on Wednesday after checking their ID. “They are keeping a record of what is taken. I’m also staying temporarily at Ghaya [hotel] and have arranged another room to rent, through a broker.”

A man who said he works in the tower’s “facilities management” said it was “unlikely” all floors would have been opened for access by the end of Wednesday, adding that it would “probably take another day or two”.

It is not clear if some kind of coordination arrangement has been set up between the representatives of the tower and residents, following the fire. Some residents have said they have not been contacted by anyone and are relying on updates on WhatsApp from fellow residents. On Wednesday afternoon, Gulf News called the mobile number advertised on the facade of the tower, seeking an update on the situation. A man who answered the phone said he could not comment as he was driving. By the time of going to press, there was no response for a comment request sent by SMS.

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