The National -- Five people including two children died when they were asphyxiated in a fire that gutted part of their apartment building early on Monday morning.
Sharjah Civil Defence director Colonel Sami Al Naqbi said that the victims perished while trying to escape.
Their apartments were located on the first of a four-storey building in the Al Butainah area of Sharjah.
Damage caused by the blaze could be seen around the windows of one apartment, which is located in a quiet residential street, just off Al Sharq Street and close to Sharjah Corniche.
Two neighbours confirmed the fire started sometime between 12.30am and 1am.
Brigadier Mohammed Rashid bin Bayat, head of operations at Sharjah Police, said that a Moroccan woman, 38, died along with her two children, a boy and a girl aged six and four. The victim was named Sanaa and worked for the Sharjah Ladies Club.
The other woman was a 40-year-old Pakistani who worked for a nearby bank and was identified by a friend as Gazal.
The fifth victim was an unidentified Indian man aged 35.
Six residents that were rescued from the building were taken to hospital.
Nine Sharjah Police officers affected by smoke pouring from the building were checked over in hospital but later released, while a firefighter remained in hospital on Monday.
Salman Shafiq said one of the dead women is a friend of his wife's and he drove from Abu Dhabi to the scene of the fire when he heard what happened.
"Oh my God, I can't believe this," Mr Shafiq told The National.
"Her name was Gazal, she is a bank employee and a wonderful person. She was a close friend of my wife and like my sister.
"We had been out as a family on Friday night. I can't believe this.
“My sister was with her just last night, and in the morning she called her but a police officer picked up the phone and said that Gazal was not well. When my sister called Gazal’s brother, he confirmed that she died in the fire."
Bodies of the three adults were taken to Al Kuwaiti Hospital while the two children were taken to Al Qasimi Hospital.
“There is a fire alarm in the building but we are not sure yet if it went off or not," Brigadier bin Bayat said.
"The fire caused heavy smoke which spread in the entire building, where almost everyone was asleep."
He said the the owner of the building has provided temporary accommodation for evacuated residents.
Investigators at the scene said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire but added that they are looking closely at the air conditioning system.