UAE: Fire breaks at Ajman tower near Dubai
Building evacuated but no casualties confirmed as firefighters tackle blaze, the latest skyscraper fire in the United Arab Emirates and wider region
Residents have been evacuated after a major fire engulfed a high-rise tower in theUnited Arab Emirates, the latest in a series of skyscraper blazes in the Gulf nation.
The streets around the building in Ajman, close to Dubai, were cordoned off by police as firefighters battled to control the blaze. According to the Khaleej Timestenants of the tower block have been evacuated.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
— Rezan Oueiti (@Rezo_90) March 28, 2016
Burning debris could be seen raining down in videos posted on social media. One user said on Twitter: “The air here reeks of burning plastic. Flames are roaring up the roadside frontage of the Ajman One tower”.
Bismillah, a Pakistani tenant in the complex, told Gulf News her three children rushed down 19 floors to safety. “We were all very distraught, we have lost everything,” she said.
“My flat is completed gutted,” said another resident while wiping away tears. “I have lost everything including my documents and I have no place to stay.”
On New Year’s Eve firework displays were interrupted after a huge fire engulfed part of a luxury hotel in Dubai. It took four hours to put out the fire and there were no fatalities.
The Dubai police said the blaze on New Year’s Eve started on the 20th floor of the building, which was a residential address. Footage uploaded to the internet shows huge flames rapidly climbing the hotel’s exterior from what appeared to be a terrace or balcony.
Ajman is home to many commuters who work in the Gulf commercial hub of Dubai, further to the south. Like Dubai, it is one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE federation.
Dubai’s skyline has seen two similar fires in recent years and many of the city’s buildings have floors well out of reach of conventional firefighting equipment and rely on advanced sprinkler systems and other fire retardants.
Building and safety experts have attributed the spate of fires to a material commonly used to cover the buildings known as aluminum composite panel cladding. Some panels used in buildings in the Emirates contain a flammable core that can burn rapidly one ignited, allowing fires to spread quickly on buildings covered top to bottom with the panels without sufficient fire breaks along the way.
It was not immediately clear if the skyscraper in the Ajman fire had that type of cladding, but images posted on social media appeared to show the fire burning in a similar fashion.