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Residents flee as The Torch bursts into flame again

August 7, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Crying residents fled in terror as Dubai’s Torch Tower, one of the world’s tallest residential buildings and a tourist landmark in the Gulf, caught fire and was engulfed in flames for the second time in just over two years.

Social media posts showed blazing debris cascading down as flames spread steadily up the blazing Torch early Friday morning.

The 79-storey building was successfully evacuated, BBC News reported.

Dubai fire officials said flames were extinguished in two hours. No injuries were reported, though it was a horrific ordeal for residents. High-rise dwellers are understandably nervous, as an inferno broke out at a 63-storey luxury hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve in 2016 and other high-rise fires have happened elsewhere since.

Reports of Friday’s fire said over 40 floors appeared to be ablaze on one side of the building, with authorities holding people back about a block away.

The earlier incident was in February 2015 when fire engulfed the flaming Torch – and again no one was injured.

In a frightening echo of the recent, devastating Grenfell Tower Fire in London, which killed at least 80 people in June, engineers inspecting the latest blaze say that the exterior cladding probably accelerated the Torch fire.

The cladding was replaced last year, CBS News reported, adding that 30,000 buildings in the United Arab Emirates are believed to have flammable cladding. Earlier this year, Dubai passed a law requiring all flammable cladding be replaced.

The Torch was the world’s tallest residential building when it opened in 2011. It has since been beaten by five or six others.

Written by Peter Needham

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