Abu Dhabi: Wheelchair-Bound Resident's Quick Thinking Saved Lives Amid Fire


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Tue 23 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

In a devastating fire that engulfed a residential building in the Khalidiya area back in 2022, Imen Sfaxi displayed bravery. Her first instinct was to jump in and help people, utilising her first aid expertise and quick thinking. She saved eight people in a fire caused by a pipeline explosion. However, a second explosion occurred while she provided aid, causing severe injuries that left her wheelchair-bound.

The Tunisian expat and Abu Dhabi resident received the Abu Dhabi Award personally from President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for her heroic action on April 19.


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The fire that broke out on May 23, 2022 resulted in the destruction of a large part of the building. Despite being advised to stay home, she disregarded her own safety and rushed to the scene. When she witnessed people struggling and desperately needing assistance, she started by evacuating people from the scene while applying first aid to others.


In a video shared by Abu Dhabi Awards, Sfaxi's husband, Sami Messaoudi, shared his admiration for her courageous act. "I asked her to stay home, but she rushed to help people. It was a call from God that told her to take a bucket of water and get there and help them."

"In this situation, she didn't stand still. Her instinct to help others made her take on this remarkable role," added Dr Saif Juma Al Dhaheri, a spokesperson for The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), praising Sfaxi's quick thinking and selflessness and the significance of her actions.

The video also featured Sfaxi's friends and loved ones who rallied around her. Amira Zeddini, a close friend, said: "We were deeply concerned about her well-being after the incident. It took approximately two or three hours to know what happened to her and whether she was among the injured."

Zeddini asked Sfaxi "if she regrets it" following the incident.

Sfaxi, with determination, simply answered, "No."

Despite her condition and the challenges she now faces, she expressed no regret for her actions. "Whether Imen is in a wheelchair or not, she will remain the Imen I know,” Zeddini said.

In recognition of her bravery and selflessness, Sfaxi was honoured at the eleventh edition of the Abu Dhabi Awards. Sfaxi and seven other individuals were awarded for their contributions to the community.

The individuals were awarded for the impact they have had on a variety of fields, such as education, sustainability, medicine, humanitarian relief, community awareness, and empowerment of People of Determination.

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Khaleej Times

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