A massive blaze has engulfed the ‘Marina Torch’ skyscraper in Dubai, forcing hundreds of people to flee the 336-meter-high tower – one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. It took firefighters over two hours to bring the fire under control.
A huge fire engulfed part of the Torch Tower in Dubai in the early hours of this morning, forcing hundreds of people to flee the 1,100ft skyscraper.
Witnesses said the blaze appeared to have started at around 2am in the middle of the residential building, rapidly spreading from the 51st floor to the 83rd floor.
In several videos posted on social media websites, multiple floors of the 676-apartment high-rise were seen ablaze.
Strong winds fanned the flames and burning debris from the fire could be seen falling from building.
One witness said flames shot out from two sides of the building as glass and metal rained down from near the summit of the structure.
Another witness said it looked “like the Titanic going down”, according to Gulfnews.com.
One resident, Briton Steve Short, 53, from Liverpool, praised the work of firefighters who arrived quickly.
He said fire alarms alerted people to the blaze and building management sent workers knocking on doors to ensure residents got out.
Residents of at least one neighbouring tower were told to evacuate as a precaution because of high winds, but they were later allowed back inside.
It took firefighters several hours before they extinguished the blaze, according to a witness at the scene.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear. Officials said there were no reports of casualties.
Expert General. Rashid Thani Al Matrooshi, director general of Dubai Civil Defense, said the winds had blown the flames further, making it difficult to fight the fire.
But he added that “speed, accuracy and response to the condition change” had seen fire crews able to take control of the blaze.
Opened in 2011, the Torch Tower has 87 floors and is one of the world’s tallest residential buildings.
It is located in the Marina district of the city which 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.
Dubai, known for its skyline of hugely varied skyscrapers, has seen fires at towers in the past.
In 2012, a huge blaze gutted the 34-Tamweel tower in the nearby Jumeirah Lake Towers district. It was later revealed to have been caused by a cigarette butt thrown into a bin.