Residential skyscraper in Dubai catches fire in dense area


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A residential skyscraper in Dubai caught fire on Wednesday in the densely populated Marina district, sending columns of smoke into the air and pieces of the building’s facade tumbling below.

The afternoon blaze engulfed the upper floors of the Sulafa Tower. The fire quickly spread to other floors and the sides of the building with flames engulfing more than 30 stories and scorching the exterior of the building. It appeared to have spread to the interiors of some of the apartments, as well.

Nora Maki, who lives across the street, says the flames “spread like wildfire” but that firefighters “did an amazing job” of getting it under control. Firefighters could be seen on some of the balconies trying to reach out to extinguish the fire.

“It was really scary,” Maki said. “You could hear almost explosions … and there was debris flying around.”

The fire did not cause any casualties and civil defense crews evacuated all residents to ensure their safety, according to the official Twitter account of the Dubai Media Office.

It is the latest in a number of skyscraper fires across the United Arab Emirates in recent months. The most prominent was a New Year’s inferno at a 63-story residence near the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa. Police also blamed the fire at the upscale The Address Downtown Dubai building on faulty wiring.

Dubai has vowed to supervise construction crews more strictly and monitor the material they use, as well as implement new fire safety regulations. Though the infernos have not led to any casualties, at least 30,000 buildings across the nation have cladding or paneling similar to the kind that safety and construction experts have blamed for the rapid spread of the fires.

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Associated Press writer Aya Batrawy contributed to this report.

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