Atul Aneja

Dubai: A major fire on Thursday in a high-rise building that was under construction in an upscale district of Dubai killed three and injured scores of Asian workers, including several Indians.

Official sources told The Hindu that two workers died on the spot while another succumbed to his injuries in hospital. So far, 58 persons have been admitted to two hospitals in the city.

Indians among injured

Initial estimates indicated that about half of the injured were Indians. Sources said that many of those hospitalised were from Andhra Pradesh, while some belonged to Rajasthan.

Four workers were in intensive care, of whom two were in critical condition.

Around 12.45 p.m. local time, smoke could be seen emerging from the 21st floor of the 37-storeyed building.

Apparently, Chinese workers, engaged in carpentry work were present there. Many Asian workers, mostly Indians, were engaged in fixing window panes on a floor above.

As the blaze gathered force, panic set in and a couple of workers used cables as slithers to reach safety.

Black smoke spewed from the upper floors of the glass-sheathed building, which is part of a cluster of apartment towers on the city's southern edge.

By early afternoon rescue efforts began to take effect. Two helicopters hovered above the stricken building, but were unable to land. A few workers by then used the scaffolding to access the building's roof.