Massive fire breaks out at National Paints plant in Sharjah
11 May 2010,

Emirates Road is still closed in Sharjah and traffic is being diverted to the Sharjah-Al Dhaid Road.

Emergency services arrive on the scene as a massive fire breaks out at the National Paints Factory in Sharjah. Almost all roads leading to Dubai and Ajman from Sharjah have been closed due to safety measures, May 11, 2010. (SATISH KUMAR)

JUST IN: Emergency officials expect to bring the fire under control by 4pm.

The fire continues to spread inside the National Paints plant, more than five hours after the fire first broke out this morning, says the Emirates Business reporter who is reporting live from the plant in Sharjah.

A special team has arrived from Abu Dhabi to help control the fire in Sharjah's National Paints plant. Officials are using mud fencing to prevent the fire from spreading to the road. A helicopter has also been pressed into service to spray chemicals to douse the flames.

According to one of the employees of National Paints, the fire broke out when a barrel of enamel fell down from a height inside the plant. Apparently the enamel came in contact with other chemicals and the wrong combination caused the fire. National Paints or civic officials have not revealed the cause of the fire yet.

Earlier, an official from FIREX told the reporter (on conditions of anonymity), the blaze could be a result of 'wrong combination of chemicals'. The official did not elaborate further. Sensitive chemicals are used to manufacture paints. FIREX provides fire protection and fire-fighting equipment to National Paints.

Diesel, kerosene, enamel, paint powder and other inflammable chemicals are stored in underground tanks within the premises.

An aluminium fabrication unit, adjacent to the National Paint plant; a trailer loaded with chemical; and Recorder printing press have caught fire.

The owner of Farhan Depot, a furniture factory, located near the National Paint plant, was only able to rescue his passport and money, before he was evacuated by civic officials to safety.

According to the Emirates Business reporter, civic officials and firefighters are wearing chemical masks as the dense fumes rising from the fire could be poisonous.

EARLIER: A massive fire broke out at 8:45 am in the National Paint plant in Sharjah. The fire has spread to adjacent buildings and the area has been cordoned off.

About 700 employees were working inside the building when the fire broke out this morning. All employees have been evacuated safely. However, a lot of vehicles parked in the parking lot outside the building caught fire.

Two civil defence vehicles that were engaged in firefighting, other private vehicles, including a bus, have burnt down.

Civil defence officials have evacuated the shops, labour accomodations and other building located near the busy National Paints roundabout.

No casualties have been reported so far and the cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

The National Paints roundabout has been closed to traffic and Emirates road in Sharjah heading towards Dubai has been closed temporarily due to the fire.