Nestlé GM’s House Catches Fire [Archives:2001/16/Local News]

April 16 2001

A major fire broke out in the house of the Nestlé’s Yemen branch’s General Manager which is located in the Haddah district in Sana’a. The fire engulfed the master bedroom in the house and all the utilities in the second floor of the two storeyed Villa . A gun battle between rival land grabbers in the northern side of the house ensued. It lasted for more than forty minutes in which machine gun and Klashnikov fire were used leading to of the fire. A stray machine gun bullet entered the master bedroom through the window causing the fire. Luckily, the fire didn’t hurt any one because the inhabitants of the house were on the ground floor. The outside of the window was bullet ridden as it was hit by more than ten machine gun and Klashnikov bullets. Mr Tahir Saeed, Nestlé’s Yemen Branch’s General Manager who lives with his wife in the house chose to sleep in the ground floor when he heard the gunfire outside the house. He said that he discovered later, when the guards told him, that smoke was coming out of the window. He went up to find out what was happening on the top floor, only to find a corridor full of smoke which prevented him from even seeing the real damage in the bedroom. It was discovered later that the fire had engulfed everything in the bedroom and turned the master bed into ashes. The plaster in the ceiling came down, fans as well as lamps and an air conditioner melted as a result of the intense heat produced by the fire. Adjacent rooms and corridors turned black as a result of the heavy smoke.
Mr Saeed called the fire department which arrived after efforts to put out the fire had already started using ordinary water tankers. Fire exchanges, as a result of land disputes in Sana’a, have become common in the Haddah area where it has become almost routine to hear machine gun fire in the middle of the night. Sometimes, innocent people get hurt as a result. Neither the land lord of the Villa, nor the inhabitants had any thing to do with the land problem which caused the exchange of fire. Yet, they have become the main victims of this atrouous behavior. Haddah is one of the areas in the city where many thought there was least danger, but repeated incidents like this is changing the situation.