Smoke engulfs central Dubai after huge fire in tower-block

Smoke engulfs central Dubai after huge fire in tower-block
Clouds of smoke billowed over central Dubai on Sunday after a fire burned for several hours in a residential tower under construction near the city's largest shopping mall.
2 min read
02 April, 2017
One person was left in serious condition after the fire erupted [AFP]

Four people were trapped in a burning building in central Dubai on Sunday,  including one that was injured and left in a serious condition, authorities have said.

Clouds of smoke billowed over the city after a fire burned for several hours in a residential tower under construction near Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Ateej told Dubai television.

The blaze erupted around 6:30 am (2:30am GMT) at the complex - near Dubai's largest mall and a hotel ravaged by fire on New Year's Eve in 2015, authorities said.

The Dubai government said that fire-fighting crews had brought the blaze under control.

It said the building was being constructed by local public-private real estate giant Emaar.

The property has three towers, each 60 floors high, and had been due to be completed in April of next year.

Major fires have hit several Dubai high-rises in recent years and spread quickly, mostly due to flammable material used in cladding, a covering or coating used on the side of the buildings.

In January, Dubai announced tougher fire rules in a bid to minimise risks after several spectacular blazes that have ripped through skyscrapers in the modern Gulf emirate.

The new regulations were announced at a security exhibition during which authorities also launched Dubai's new fire and safety code for the emirate.

Builders must abide by a new requirement to ensure that the flammability of the cladding is as close to zero as possible, said Civil Defence Lieutenant Taher Hassan al-Taher.

"There is a requirement to minimise it to zero," Taher said.

Builders will also have to regularly carry out maintenance on the cladding panels and replace them after a certain date, he added.

"There is a timeline for all cladding (and) there is maintainance for everything. By that time they'll have to change it," Taher said.

Those who violate the rules will face fines up to 50,000 dirhams ($13,623), he added.

Sunday's blaze was close to where a huge fire ripped through the luxury Address Downtown Hotel on 31 December, 2015, only a few hours before a fireworks display nearby.

It sparked panic and was broadcast live worldwide and left 16 people injured.

In July last year, a fire gutted the 75-storey Sulafa tower in Dubai Marina, with the flames spreading up quickly at least 15 floors of the building.

In 2012, a huge blaze gutted the 34-storey 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.