A blaze ripped through Dubai’s unfortunately named Torch Tower between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Friday morning, marking the second time in three years that the supertall luxury residential building has caught fire. The incident also represents this summer’s second major residential tower fire, following the deadly blaze that engulfed London’s Grenfell Tower in June. Unlike that tragedy, which claimed more than 80 lives, there have been no fatalities or injuries reported at the Torch.
The 1,155-foot-tall building, designed by National Engineering Bureau and completed in 2011, first went up in flames in February of 2015. Investigators blamed the building’s flammable exterior cladding — also the culprit in June’s Grenfell Tower fire — for that blaze’s rapid spread. The Telegraph reports that renovations to replace the cladding began shortly after the 2015 event and are still ongoing.
Today’s blaze comes just months after the UAE tightened regulations on flammable cladding, requiring that new buildings install flame-retardant materials and that old buildings meet the same standards when it comes time for maintenance. Aluminum panels with flammable plastic cores that covered the Torch’s exterior in 2015 may have facilitated the fire’s spread up the side of the tower, sending fiery debris crashing down to the pavement below.
The Dubai Media Office tweeted later in the day that the tower was put out without any injuries or deaths, sharing a video of the building post-blaze. According to the office’s tweets, all roads surrounding the tower are now open.
Video © Twitter user Hilda (@dhuyanik)