Fire puts the brakes on Dubai's metro service

Fire puts the brakes on Dubai's metro service
Fire safety in Dubai is in focus once more as a blaze forced train services to come to a halt in part of the city.
3 min read
23 November, 2015
Dubai metro opened in 2009 and quickly changed mindsets in the car-friendly city [AFP]

A fire burning close to one of Dubai's main metro lines has forced services to grind to a halt.

Smoke and flames billowing out from a building just metres away from the rail lines forced the city's transport authority to suspend services.

Dubai's Road and Transport Authority which runs the service announced that no trains would run between two stations in the packed Deira district until further notice.

"RTA announced the disruption of service between Abu Hail and Union station on the green metro line and that is due to a fire breakout in one of the buildings nearby the stations. The action was taken as a precaution for the safety of the metro users," the authority tweeted.

The fire also forced Dubai Police to close Salahuddin Road, which runs through the city's residential and commerical heart.

Dubai is one of the few cities in the region to run a fully integrated public transport system, including a metro, tram, bus network, ferries, and taxis taking more than half a billion customers around the emirate in 2014.

Around 1.5 million residents use some form of public transport in Dubai every day.
Dubai-based daily Gulf News reported that three of the building's floors were on fire, and that firefighters were struggling to control the blaze in the densely occupied quarter.

Residents said that they heard two loud explosions before the blaze started, and some occupants fled to the roof to escape the flames.

Deira has a number of hotels in the area and occupants of the Crowne Plaza were forced to evacuate.

Fire safety in Dubai has come under the spotlight after a number of fires in the city.

Dubai Torch, a 79-floor residential tower block in the city's upscale Marina district, was hit by a massive blaze in February.

Dubai went through a construction boom in the early 21st century and the city's skyline filled with skyscrapers in a matter of years.

Questions have been raised about the materials used in the construction of these high-rises, and an inquiry was launched into the facade tiles and insulation used on the Dubai Torch.

The developer insisted that the building's fire safety precautions "functioned as planned".

A fire at an Abu Dhabi "illegal workers" residence in February cost ten lives.