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07 December 2023

Tower blaze victims claim homes were looted

By V M Sathish

Misfortune continues to follow residents of Al Bakar Tower that went up in flames last month. Even as they fight odds to set up homes all over again and are left in the dark about insurance claims, they have another menace to handle - to safeguard their remaining assets because thieves are out on a looting spree.

Meanwhile, they got a breather last week when His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, ordered a financial compensation of Dh50,000 to each family affected by the fire.

Even as all of them expressed happiness at the Ruler's gesture, majority of them told 'Emirate24|7' that they are not clear about the procedures involved in claiming the amount.

However, their immediate concern is to catch looters and safeguard their remaining assets.

Residents told this website that items are missing from their locked apartments. Families have reportedly lost valuables including antiques, television sets and watches among other expensive goods.
A 12th-floor resident of the tower said a 50-inch TV is missing from his home and he found the room was not properly locked.

However, Sharjah Police and Civil Defence inspectors are doing their best to keep frausters at bay. They do not allow residents to inspect their charred flats without sufficient proof of identification. Yet residents have found to their shock that homes have been broken into and valuables stolen.

Sharjah Police is investigating the cases.

Rauf Thiruvannur, resident of 14th floor, who was away in the US at the time of the blaze, said he lost about 15 antique collections apart from furniture. "When I first went into my flat, all the items were in place. However, I could not move them out because the lift was out of order. When I retured after the lift became functional, I was shocked to see my valuables missing," said Thiruvannur. "Police have collected fingerprints," he added.

Thiruvannur entered his apartment with a spare key. Sharjah Police had asked him to provide proof of his tenancy contract or other identification papers at the police station to collect a spare key. 

Earlier last year, victims of the gutted Kuwait Tower also had to face such a scenario where their goods were stolen. The tower's
wiring, pipes and other materials were allegedly stolen because it did not have a watchman.