Hulhumale’ rowhouse fire leaves 14 families homeless

A fire that broke out at Hulhumale’ rowhouse ‘Mashi 3′ second floor at around 11:30 hrs on Friday has left fourteen families homeless.

The government has pledged to house all fourteen families.

While no one was harmed in this incident, a  total of fourteen apartments from ten different buildings sustained various degrees of damages.

The damaged apartments were the second floor of Mashi 1, 2, 3, 4 5, 6, 7 and Sandhura 6, 7, and 8. The first and ground floor of Mashi 1, 2 and 3 were also affected. People living in nearby apartments attempted to save as much property as they could as the fire spread slowly across the rowhouses.

The first responders to the scene were the staff of Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Maldives Police Services and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) firemen stationed at the adjoined Hulhule Island. The HDC is responsible for development and management of the island.

A small fire truck and a few MNDF officials in plain clothes worked with help from members of the community for nearly an hour using a basket crane and a single hose to put out the fire.

Firemen from Maldives Airports Company Ltd’s Fire and Rescue Services came with bigger fire trucks and equipment, and started working with MNDF firefighters and member of the community. They managed to control much of the fire by 12:45pm.

MNDF reinforcements from Hulhule’ reached the scene around 1:00pm with more equipment and manpower.

Firemen at the scene were unable to use any equipment at the buildings, which the HDC blamed on vandalism.

Speaking to Minivan News, an HDC official said the the fire safety equipment at all buildings are set up to meet standards set by the MNDF, but were later on vandalized.

There are no routine inspection and maintenance of fire safety equipment, however the HDC has revealed plans to establish an MNDF Fire and Rescue Unit on the Island in 2014.

According to the HDC 14 families will be provided shelter at the newly built flats under the Veshifahi Male’ project. Twelve of the fourteen whom were relocated last night with help from MNDF. All families were provided immediate temporary shelter at Lale’ International School in Hulhumale’.

A cost estimation for rebuilding the row houses will be made by next week, an HDC official told Minivan News.