A fire has erupted in Dubai’s 75-story skyscraper Sulafa Tower. According to local media reports, the fire broke out on the 35th floor and quickly spread across many of the top floors of the residential building. The apparent cause of the fire is still not known, but eyewitnesses said the building was ablaze in the center as well as on the top. Twitter is flooded with photos and videos of the burning structure.
Raw videos captured by eyewitnesses show debris falling from the residential building. According to Gulf Business, the Sulafa Tower is located near The Torch, another skyscraper that was engulfed in a massive fire last year. An official at the Dubai Civil Defense said they received a phone call informing them about the fire at 2:48 pm local time. Police and firefighters have reportedly arrived at the scene, but the fire is still ongoing.
British expat Jack Maidment told the Khaleej Times, “I just came home and heard noise and saw fire engines. I came out to the balcony and saw smoke near the top of the building.” Maidment added that the firemen had entered the Sulafa Tower and were helping the residents evacuate the building. As of 3:45 pm, the fire was getting under control, but smoke could still be seen coming out of the affected floors.
Why do fire accidents occur so frequently in Dubai?
Built in 2010, Sulafa Tower is among the 25 tallest buildings in Dubai. The 75-story structure stands 285 meters tall. A resident who was not inside the building at the time of fire told Gulf Business that fires are a routine occurrence in the building. Residents are “evacuated about twice a month” because people often forget to turn off the stove. He added that there was no fire safety education.
Dubai has witnessed several fire accidents in the last few years. In February 2015, the Torch Tower in Dubai Marina was engulfed in huge fire. According to the Gulf Business, experts believe the frequent fire incidents are due to the poor external cladding material. A large number of buildings in the United Arab Emirates are clad with flammable material panels.