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Seven siblings perish in house fire

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Seven brothers and sisters aged between five and 13 died of smoke inhalation in a house fire in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, police said.

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Hundreds of fires are reported each year across the UAE, despite attempts by authorities to curb such incidents, but casualties are rarely reported.

Police in the eastern emirate of Fujairah said the mother awoke at dawn to the smell of a fire in her house.

“When rescue teams arrived at the house, the seven children were found dead: three sons and four daughters between the ages of five and 13,” police said in a statement.

The local police chief said investigations were underway and called on residents to install smoke detectors as a safety precaution.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, took to Twitter to express the nation’s “shared grief and pain” over the loss of the seven children — addressing “heartfelt condolences” to the family.

The UAE’s civil defence force in July said it had dealt with 928 fire-related incidents in the first half of 2017. Those fires had resulted in 12 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

House fires account for nearly two-thirds of all fires in the Gulf state.

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