Flames engulf enormous residential skyscraper in Dubai

Authorities say the 336-metre-tall Torch skyscraper, one of the tallest residential buildings in the world, was ‘successfully evacuated’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 7:23am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 9:50am

Fire engulfed a high-rise residential tower in Dubai in the middle of the night, sending plumes of smoke into the air and debris falling below.

Dubai’s police and other authorities said no injuries had been reported so far in the blaze that started around 1am at the 336-metre-tall Torch Tower, one of the world’s tallest residential skyscrapers, located in Dubai’s popular Marina neighborhood. It was the second time that a major fire had ripped through the skyscraper, after a blaze in 2015.

Dubai’s Civil Defence announced at about 3.30am that firefighters had brought the blaze under control.

“Cooling operations are underway,” Dubai’s official media office said on Twitter. Earlier, it said the tower had been “successfully evacuated”.

The Torch Tower was world’s tallest residential tower when it opened in 2011. It is 79 storeys high, but is often described as having 86 storeys, including below-ground levels.

A journalist near the scene of Friday’s blaze said more than 40 floors of the high-rise tower appeared to be engulfed in flames on one side of the building. Residents of the building could be seen crying with several saying the fire broke just after 1am.

Dubai police cordoned off the area around the building, keeping people about a block away from the fire and the debris.

Fires have affected several skyscrapers in the United Arab Emirates, including a towering inferno that engulfed a 63-story luxury hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve in 2016.

Building and safety experts have cited a popular type of cladding covering the buildings that can be highly flammable.

A devastating tower fire in London in June killed at least 80 people and prompted Britain to order more thorough testing on the cladding systems of its towers.