Dubai Skyscraper Catches Fire
The Torch, a 79-storey skyscraper in Dubai standing over 330 meters, lived its name as it caught fire on early Saturday. Hundreds of tower occupants were evacuated from one of the tallest residential buildings in the United Arab Emirates city.
The fire broke at about 2 a.m. It reportedly started at the 52nd floor, but flaming material fell, burning also a lower part of the building, reports USA Today.
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The tower is located in Dubai's Marina district, on the northeastern part of a densely populated district filled with multi-storey skyscrapers. Most of the residents are expatriate professionals.
The Torch, owned by developer Select Group, opened in 2011. It is one of the tallest residential towers in the world.
While flames were eating both sides of the building, glass and metal fell not only on the ground below the tower but also on a nearby road about 100 meters away.
According to Archibald Jurdi, a resident who lives on the 76th floor, the tower's fire alarm didn't immediately work and the reception was alerted of the blaze by people from a nearby building, the Princess Tower, reports Reuters.
But another resident, Steve Short from Liverpool, England, said the fire alarm woke up the residents, while building staff knocked door to door to ensure the residents are alerted and leave their units.
Some of these who were evacuated were dressed in pyjamas, while others who likely just returned from the night out on a weekend were still dressed in evening dress.
The fire affected the upper floors of the skyscraper. Residents of the affected floors were told by fire officials that it would take them several days before they would be allowed to return to their units. Even for those with units on the lower floors, the earliest they could go back is late Saturday.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. There were no report of casualties.