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Four people were injured when fire broke out on the top floor of a 17-storey residential building in Madinat Zayed on Thursday afternoon.

Among the injured was a firefighter who was taken to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, the Interior Ministry’s public relations division, Security Media, said. Emergency responders treated three people at the scene for breathing difficulties.

The fire started in a bunk-bed in an apartment on the 17th floor of Al Ibrahimi Restaurant building in Zayed the First Street, formerly known as Electra Street. The cause of the fire is under investigation, Security Media said.

The fire was reported at 1pm, said Colonel Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi from the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence. Firefighting and ambulance teams, as well as a helicopter, responded to help anyone who may have been trapped in the building.

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Firefighting teams from the metropolitan, Al Falah and Al Bateen stations contained the fire within 10 minutes, Security Media said. Traffic-patrol officers, ambulances and crime-scene experts also responded.

The fire occurred on the side of the building facing away from the street, leaving much of the top two floors blackened, with white and black smoke billowing out.

Eight residents said that fire alarms often sounded in the building, with some saying they go off at least twice a week and others saying as many as five times a week.

Some residents said they thought the alarm system was too sensitive or faulty, while others thought residents’ activities, such as ironing or smoking, were causing the alarms.

One former resident, who asked not to be named, said he had lived at the building for about four months until his company moved him to other accommodations.

The company moved him because there was no fire-alarm system, he said, as he stood outside watching the fire after leaving a nearby barber shop.

Three residents who lived on the 10th floor said that because fire alarms sounded so often, they initially ignored them.

“First we heard the alarm, then we ignored the alarm,” said Mark Rocha, 26, from the Philippines.

“After the second alarm, we ignored it again. Then I heard, outside at the elevator, people screaming.”

Mr Rocha opened the door and saw smoke and smelled burning, and saw residents trying to evacuate the building using the elevator, he said. He and his flatmates used the stairs.

A fourth resident who said she lived on the 15th floor, also from the Philippines, said that she had also at first ignored the first alarm but then opened the door and saw smoke on the floor.

Another resident, who lived on the 17th floor and asked not to be named, said he came to the building when a friend called to tell him that there was a fire, but that it was not affected.

He said he has lived there for three months but had also noticed the frequency of alarms sounding.

“I guess it’s not a surprise,” he said.

The building contains mainly employee accommodations, with many people from the Philippines and Ethiopia, residents said.

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