Fire rips through Dubai tower

Second blaze in as many years to hit 337m-high residential block

DUBAI • Panicked residents fled one of the tallest towers in the glitzy Gulf city state of Dubai early yesterday after a fire ripped through it, the second blaze to hit the skyscraper in as many years.

The authorities said no casualties were reported from the blaze which erupted in the middle to upper floors of The Torch, once the tallest residential development in the world with 86 storeys.

The 337m tower was the scene of an inferno in 2015 that caused extensive damage to its luxury apartments and triggered an evacuation of nearby blocks in the seafront Marina neighbourhood.

Dubai officials said firefighters arrived at the scene within four minutes of the blaze erupting in the early hours. They said residents were immediately evacuated and the fire put out without any casualties. Dubai's civil defence authority said the blaze started on the 65th floor.

Yesterday morning, an Agence France-Presse correspondent saw burnt vehicles in the tower's carpark and extensive damage to the middle and upper storeys on the left side of the building.

"We thank God there were no casualties, that because of the efforts of all teams on the ground... the residents were evacuated from this building to another one and there were no injuries," said, the Dubai police commander, Major-General Abdullah Khalifa al-Marri.

In January, Dubai announced tougher rules to minimise fire risks after a series of tower blazes in the emirate mostly due to flammable material used in cladding, a covering or coating used on the sides of the buildings.

The Torch, one of the tallest towers in Dubai at 337m, after a fire ripped through it early yesterday morning.
The Torch, one of the tallest towers in Dubai at 337m, after a fire ripped through it early yesterday morning. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

In November 2015, fire engulfed three residential blocks in central Dubai and led to services on a metro line being suspended, although no one was hurt.

On New Year's Eve that year, 16 people were injured when a fire broke out in a luxury hotel.

Dubai has established a reputation for building dozens of futuristic skyscrapers, which have transformed its skyline.

The city state boasts the world's tallest building, the Burj al-Khalifa, which stands 828m high, as well as palm tree-shaped, man-made luxury residential islands.

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding, meanwhile, is building a tower in Jeddah that is planned to surpass the Burj Khalifa, rising more than a kilometre.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2017, with the headline 'Fire rips through Dubai tower'. Print Edition | Subscribe