News ID: 155371
Published: 0919 GMT July 20, 2016

Massive blaze engulfs Dubai skyscraper

Massive blaze engulfs Dubai skyscraper

A massive blaze broke out at a 75-story residential tower in a densely populated area of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Wednesday, sending plumes of smoke into the air and causing panic among residents.

Media reports said the blaze engulfed the Sulafa Tower in the upscale Marina district.

Local residents said the fire appeared to have started on the 35th floor and quickly spread to other floors. Passers-by and workmen ran for cover as chunks of burning debris landed on surrounding buildings and neighboring swimming pools.

“The fire started on the 35th floor, but we're not sure how yet. Most of the people who live there are standing outside watching the fire,” AFP quoted eyewitnesses as saying, adding, “Debris is floating down from the building and is landing in neighboring swimming pools.”

Hundreds of residents are thought to have been evacuated from the building as fire has affected more than 30 floors.

Fire trucks and ambulances rushed to the scene although there was no immediate report of casualties.

The blaze was the latest in a number of skyscraper fires across the United Arab Emirates in months. The most considerable fire was a New Year's inferno at a 63-story residence near the world's tallest tower. The fire erupted at The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai hours before a massive firework show was planned to start in the nearby Burj Khalifah tower.

Aluminum composite panels are used to cover a number of high-rise buildings across the UAE.

The country revised its building safety code in 2013. According to the rule, the cladding on all the new buildings over 15 meters (50 feet) high must be fire-resistant.

Mall in Qatar catches fire 

On Wednesday, a fire also engulfed a shopping mall under construction in Qatar’s capital, Doha.

The fire happened in the Tawar Mall.

Images on social media showed thick black smoke billowing from the complex.

The Qatari Ministry of Interior said firefighters had contained fire.

It was the second such blaze in less than four months in the country that is to host the 2022 World Cup.

In April, a massive blaze broke out at another mall under construction in Doha. The blaze forced the evacuation of 14,000 workers.

Qatari authorities are under fire over the treatment of World Cup construction workers.

Figures show that 441 migrant workers from India and Nepal died in Qatar in 2014 while working on World Cup-related projects. Nepalese migrants died at a rate of one every two days in 2014.

Human rights organizations have repeatedly accused Qatar of dragging its feet on its labor law reforms, insisting that not enough is being done to investigate the effect of working long hours in temperatures that often exceed 50 degrees centigrade.

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