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Dubai Tower Burns a 2nd Time, and Flammable Cladding Is Again Under Scrutiny

August 04,2017 13:20

A huge fire in Dubai raced up the sides of one of the world's tallest residential skyscrapers on Friday, raining flaming debris on the streets below and causing a frantic nighttime evacuation by residents. Firefighters put out the flames within a few ...



A large fire ripped through a residential skyscraper in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, engulfing the tower in flames.
Social media posts showed flames spreading up the Torch Tower as burning debris fell down early Friday morning.
BBC News reported the building was "successfully evacuated."
It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze. At more than 80 stories, the tower is one of the world's tallest residential structures.
In a tweet, authorities said there were no injuries, and Dubai fire officials said the flames were extinguished in just two hours.
One Associated Press reporter was near the scene and said more than 40 floors of the high-rise tower appeared to be on fire on one side of the building. Residents of the building could be seen crying with several saying the fire broke just after 1 a.m., according to AP.
Officials cordoned off the area near the building, keeping people about a block away from danger.

Crews respond to the Torch Tower fire on Fri., Aug. 4, 2017.

Dubai Media Office
The fire was the second massive blaze at the tower in just over two years: Flames swallowed the building in February 2015, but again no one was injured.
Fire engineers said that that fire was likely accelerated by the exterior cladding - or siding - which was replaced last year, CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports. However, it remained unclear what caused the most recent blaze.
30,000 buildings in the United Arab Emirates are believed to have flammable siding. Earlier this year, Dubai passed a law requiring all flammable siding be replaced.
Torch Tower details
The skyscraper opened in 2011
Was the world's tallest residential building at its opening, but has since been surpassed by six others
Is thought to be the 32nd tallest building in the world, according to the Skyscraper Center
It has 676 apartments. A two-bedroom apartment starts at more than $500,000 (£381,000)
Residents have access to an eight-story garage and a swimming pool overlooking Dubai's waterfront
The neighborhood is home to dozens of towering apartment blocks and hotels, many of them built over the past decade. The apartments are popular with Dubai's large number of expatriate professionals.
The AP mentions that an inferno broke out at a 63-story luxury hotel in Dubai on New Year's Eve in 2016.  
At least 80 people were killed in June when a destructive blaze ripped through a tower in London. That fatal fire prompted Britain to order a thorough test of the cladding systems of its towers.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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