A blaze destroyed parts of Dubai police museum on Saturday afternoon, burning precious police memorabilia just weeks after the institution celebrated its 50th anniversary.
A civil defence source said that an electrical short circuit caused the blaze, which took nearly an hour to put out.
The museum did not have a fire warning system such as smoke detectors or sprinklers, police confirmed.
Fire engines rushed to the 35 year old building in Quisais where police antiques, military equipment, old photographs and old weapons were on display.
It was especially sad sight for me since I took part in initiating the museum years ago, Brigadier General Abdul Rahman Al Rafei, who has served in the force for 37 years, told.
The many nights of hard work with Brigadier Dahi Khalfan to organize and design the museum flashed before my eyes. We worked hard on every frome and screw and it brought tears to my eyes to see it all go up in smoke, he added.
Each year around 8,000 people, mostly students, visit the museum, which displays collections of old police photographs, records of famous crimes as well as police uniforms dating back to 1956.
Luckily, only one hall was completely gutted while all three others sustained minor damagers. But Al Rafei refused to estimate the damage.
You can’t put a price tag on history. Whole collections of pictures and records that tells our national story just went up in smoke, some dating back to the beginning of the police department while others were from an era when the country was still under British rule, he added.
All of the museum’s contents have now been moved to storage while plans to rebuild the museum are made.
To me, the biggest loss is the amount of time it’s going to take us before the museum is rebuilt and opened again to the public, Al Rafei said.