A fire broke out in a part of a high-rise building in the center of Dubai

A fire broke out in a part of a high-rise building in the center of Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A fire broke out early Monday at a 35-story high-rise in downtown Dubai, near the world’s tallest building, ripping through the side of the structure as seen in other fires caused by flammable cladding material.

A resident of 8 Boulevard Walk told The Associated Press that the high-rise is siding that officials planned to replace after a similar fire tore through the iconic tower on New Year’s Eve 2015. However, that roof has not been changed over the entire building. , said the resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.

Emaar Properties, the giant developer behind 8 Boulevard Walk and the nearby Burj Khalifa that rises above the burned-out high-rise, did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did the city-state’s Dubai media office.

Dubai Civil Defense later said all occupants of the building were safely evacuated without injury.

Fire investigators could be seen at the scene by an AP reporter looking out from balconies and pointing out the fire damage. A letter sent by Emaar to the building’s tenants said a “thorough investigation” was underway into the fire and that residents could only be allowed back in once the authorities had cleared the ground.

The fire reached one side of the building while the other sides remained intact. The damage was especially strong around the fourth floor.

The resident said the fire started around 2:30 a.m. when housekeepers and building guards were running through his floors to check the apartments on each floor. Dubai Civil Defense said it “reached the scene five minutes after the operations room was alerted to the fire at 3.11am”.

While some types of cladding can be made with a fire-resistant material, experts say those that have caught fire in Dubai and elsewhere were not designed to meet stricter safety standards and were often installed on buildings without any breaks to slow or stop a potential fire. . That includes the Grenfell fire in London in 2017, which killed 72 people in the worst fire loss on British soil since World War II.

Cladding rules are now in place for new construction in Dubai. In 2017, a civil defense official said that those with flammable cladding on their buildings “should replace it” according to the normal maintenance schedule, but it was not yet clear whether that would apply in the city-state, which is one of seven that includes the autonomous United Arab State. Emirates.

On New Year’s Eve 2015, a fire broke out at the Address Downtown, one of Dubai’s most upscale hotels and residences near the Burj Khalifa. About 15 people were injured as a result of the fire and evacuation. Dubai Police eventually blamed the fire on exposed wiring.

In September this year, Orient Insurance lost an appeal against paying Emaar 1.25 billion dirhams (more than $340 million) over the fire after it tried to blame the developer. The verdict said the roof of the building may have contributed to the spread of the fire, but was not the cause.

Emaar shares rose slightly to 6.23 dirhams ($1.70) a share on the Dubai Financial Market on Monday.


Follow John Gambrell Twitter: at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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