Flames engulf 86-storey residential tower in Dubai

Blaze at the Torch Tower, one of the world’s tallest residential buildings, is under control and residents have been evacuated

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 Huge fire engulfs Torch Tower in Dubai

A fire that engulfed an externally clad residential tower in the United Arab Emirates’ world-famous Marina in Dubai was under control early on Friday morning, officials said.

Civil defence officials said they successfully evacuated the 337-metre (1,105ft) skyscraper, which has 676 apartments.

Onlookers filmed the blaze at the Torch Tower, one of the world’s tallest residential building which has 86 floors and is home to many foreign residents. It had been damaged in a fire in 2015.

Video footage posted on social media showed flames spreading up the building and burning debris falling down.

A statement from the Dubai Media Office said: “The fire at the Torch Tower has been brought under control. Cooling operations are under way. No injuries have been reported.” Officials said they were working on providing shelter for those affected.

It was not clear what caused the fire. A Dubai police spokesperson told Gulf News that it broke out on the ninth floor and spread to the upper floors. Civil defence and police went to the scene.

Cara Spillane tweeted: “Terrifying to see Torch Tower, in the area I live in (Dubai Marina) on fire now. Hope everyone gets out OK.”

Another witness, John O’Nolan, tweeted as he filmed the blaze from across the marina.

Several skyscrapers in the United Arab Emirates have caught fire in recent years, including a a 63-storey luxury hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve in 2016. In that blaze, as in others in Dubai in recent years, people escaped without major injury.

Earlier this year Dubai passed new fire safety rules requiring buildings with flammable cladding 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.

The devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London in June killed at least 80 people and prompted blanket testing of cladding on residential towers.

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