By MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN | ARAB NEWS
Published: Feb 16, 2011 00:35 Updated: Feb 16, 2011 01:35
JEDDAH: There are about 8,000 buildings in Jeddah on the verge of collapse, according to informed sources.
This opens the door wide to accusations of our historic legacy being neglected, they say.
Jeddah lost two more historic buildings in the downtown Balad area when they were burned down Saturday night, bringing the total number of ancient buildings lost to fires to 200.
Suspicions that the fires in the two historic buildings might be deliberate are also not a distant possibility,” an informed source at the municipality said.
According to the sources, the fire that burned down the two houses did not reach the historical Bait Naseef. They said eight fire brigades were able to fight the blaze, preventing it from reaching other houses in the historic area.
According to the Civil Defense, the fire started at an apartment in the second floor of one of the two historic buildings before it extended to the third floor and then to the other building.
“There were no deaths or injuries in the fire, which completely destroyed the two historic buildings as residents were vacated beforehand,” a spokesman said.
The Civil Defense believed that fire spread very quickly because of its sandalwood exterior. “The wooden windows also helped the fire spread quickly,” it added.
According to municipal sources, apart from the historic buildings there are about 8,000 buildings on the verge of collapse in Jeddah. They said 3,000 of these houses were classed as critical and that their tenants should contact the municipality immediately.
They added that technical reports were being made on the other 1,000 houses, which should also be evacuated without delay.
According to the sources, the Saudi Electricity Company has warned the owners of about 6,000 buildings in Makkah that the power would be cut there to force occupants to find safer homes.
They said 11 of these houses were already demolished, 419 were under repair and technical reports were being compiled for the maintenance of 530 others.
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