Dubai: Huge blaze tears through 86-storey Torch Tower apartment


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Residents of a high-rise tower in Dubai have described how they managed to escape a fire that ripped through the building in the middle of the night, sending plumes of smoke into the air and burning debris falling below.

Flames shot up the sides of the Torch Tower in the second blaze to hit the high-rise since 2015, forcing hundreds of occupants to flee.

"We were sleeping and we woke up to the fire alarm and people screaming," a resident who gave his name as George said. 
"We ran down the stairs and it took us about 10 minutes to reach [the ground] from the 50th floor. "It was very bad. The fire was very strong at that time, about 1:00am. Then it started calming down over the next two hours."

The building was evacuated, no injuries were reported, and there was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze. 
The Torch Tower is one of the world's tallest residential towers at more than 80 storeys high.

Dubai's Civil Defence announced at 3:30am (local time) that the blaze was under control and it was later reported that the fire had been extinguished. 
More than 40 floors were burning on one side of the building, an Associated Press journalist near the scene said.

Authorities later shared a photo of the charred and blackened tower but it was no longer in flames. 
Officials said they were working on providing shelter for those affected. Dubai police cordoned off several blocks around the building, keeping people away from the fire's falling debris.

Hundreds of people were evacuated in 2015 from the same building when a massive fire swept through the tower. 
Fires have affected several skyscrapers in the United Arab Emirates, including a towering inferno that engulfed a 63-storey 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.

Earlier this year, Dubai instated new fire safety rules requiring buildings with quick-burning side panelling to replace it with more fire-resistant siding.

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 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.


Dubai: Huge blaze tears through 86-storey Torch Tower apartment Dubai: Huge blaze tears through 86-storey Torch Tower apartment Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Friday, 4 August 2017 Rating: 5

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