Fire put out at 86-story residential skyscraper in Dubai

August 4, 2017 | By | Reply More

Police in Dubai have reopened the streets around one of the world’s tallest residential skyscrapers after firefighters put out a blaze that erupted early Friday in the high-rise, forcing residents to evacuate in the middle of the night and sending chunks of debris plummeting below.

fire-skyscraper-dubaiNo major injuries had been reported. A few people were treated for smoke inhalation, according to Dubai’s Gulf News website.

Several residents said the fire broke out just after 1 a.m. at the 86-story Torch Tower — a more than 1,100-foot-tall (335 meters) residential building in Dubai’s popular waterfront Marina district. The same building had also caught fire just two-and-a-half years earlier.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” said Alireza Aletomeh, a resident of the tower. “I had cash in there, furniture, paintings. … Many things that are very valuable to me.”

Aletomeh, a sales manager, said he moved to the Torch Tower just three months ago, snagging an apartment on the 54th floor of the luxury tower. He said he was coming home after midnight when building security guards told him to remain in the street because a fire had erupted.

He said his roommate grabbed their passports and that it took him more than two hours to come down the stairway because of the rush of people trying to get out at the same time. At least one woman passed out in the stairway, Aletomeh said.

Dubai’s Civil Defense announced at about 3:30 a.m. that firefighters had brought the blaze under control and said cooling operations were underway. Authorities shared video of the building from the outside later on Friday, showing the entire length of the tower charred on one side.

In both incidents, fire alarms alerted residents and building staff knocked on doors to ensure evacuation.

Aletomeh, who is now staying with friends, said towers like the Torch should have sprinklers. He wondered why Civil Defense crews did not deploy helicopters to try and extinguish the fire quicker.

“Putting out the fire was the most important thing, which took them so long,” he said.

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

While the new regulations are now in place for construction in Dubai and other cities, it’s unclear how authorities will force owners to replace flammable siding with better material.

The tragic June inferno in London prompted Britain to order more thorough testing on the cladding systems of its towers.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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