Tuesday 17 October 2017

Dubai's 86-storey Torch Tower hit by fire again

Smoke and fire at the Torch Tower in Dubai's Marina district (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Smoke and fire at the Torch Tower in Dubai's Marina district (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Smoke and fire rise from a high rise building in Marina district in Dubai (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Firefighters have put out a blaze in one of the world's tallest residential towers, which engulfed part of the skyscraper in Dubai and sent chunks of debris plummeting below, city authorities said.

More than 40 floors of the 86-storey Torch Tower were burning on one side of the building, an Associated Press journalist near the scene of the blaze said.

Residents could be seen on the street outside, crying, with several saying the fire broke out just after 1am local time.

Dubai's Civil Defence announced at about 3.30am that firefighters had brought the flames under control and that no injuries had been reported.

"Cooling operations are under way," Dubai's official media office said on Twitter.

It was the second time in two and a half years that the more than 1,100ft-tall (335m) tower has been ravaged by fire.

The tower, located in the popular waterfront Marina district, caught fire in February 2015, but there were no major casualties reported in that blaze.

Early on Friday, authorities shared a photo of the charred and blackened tower but it was no longer visibly in flames. Officials said they were now working on providing shelter for those affected.

Dubai police cordoned off several blocks around the building, keeping people away from the falling debris.

Several skyscrapers in the United Arab Emirates have caught fire in recent years, including a towering inferno that engulfed a 63-storey luxury hotel in Dubai on New Year's Eve in 2016. In that blaze, as in others in Dubai in recent years, residents escaped without major injury.

Earlier this year, Dubai passed new fire safety rules requiring buildings with quick-burning side panelling to replace it with more fire-resistant material. Authorities have previously acknowledged that at least 30,000 buildings across the UAE have cladding or panelling that safety experts have said accelerates the rapid spread of fires.

A devastating blaze at the Grenfell Tower high-rise block in London in June killed at least 80 people and prompted Britain to order more thorough testing on the cladding systems of its towers.

AP

Press Association

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