Massive Blaze Rips Through Dubai's 79-Storey Residential Tower
A fire has ripped through the Torch Tower in Dubai - one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. The skyscraper, which is 1,105 foot tall, is in the marina district of the city.
While the cause of the fire was not immediately known, the BBC is reporting that it was made worse by strong gusts of wind
Strong winds helped the blaze to spread across the 336.1m (1,105ft) high building in the marina district. It is not known what caused the blaze.bbc.com
According to the BBC, the fire seemed to start around the 50th floor, and one witness claimed that "there was debris flying everywhere, falling into neighboring buildings"
Gulf News reported that debris, including melted glass, was falling to the ground from on high, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.qz.com
Footage posted on social media showed what looked like molten glass and pieces of masonry falling down from the building
Thousands of terrified residents were forced to flee and emergency crews rushed to the scene to tackle the blaze which burned across several floors of the enormous structure. There were no reported injuries.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the tower and dozens suffered smoke inhalation injuries, according to Gulf News. One resident told the paper that the alarm had stirred many people from their sleep after it went off at 2.05am.
"There have been three fire alarms every week recently and all were false," they said. "This time I heard it and said it must be false. But then I smelt smoke. I took my wallet and ran down along with my wife. We live on the 59th floor. "
"I saw the fire falling from the window," said one of the witness, further adding that the building looked like "the Titanic going down"
He added that the escape from the burning tower had been orderly.
"The firefighters did well. They were pretty quick, they organized people, got them out, gave them water and found others," he said.
"In an hour-and-a-half the fire is almost out on about 60 floors, it looks like mostly the outer apartments that are damaged," eyewitness Rola told the BBC.
She said it looked like the blaze started on the 50th floor.
"It's an iconic building, people were out on balconies all around it watching - even though it was 3am (23:00 GMT Saturday)," she said.
The fire is now under control, and residents were allowed in
The 79-storey Torch skyscraper opened in 2011. It's said to be an icon of wealth and development in the Middle East.