DUBAI (Reuters) – Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that swept through one of the world’s tallest residential buildings in Dubai early on Friday, forcing occupants to flee their homes as burning debris showered down the sides of the 79-storey tower.
Dubai’s civil defense authorities said firefighting squads put out the blaze by around 4.00 am (0000 GMT) and were cooling the 1,105 foot (337 meter) tall Torch tower.
The tower was evacuated and no injuries were reported, authorities said.
Flames shot up the sides of the building in the city’s upscale Marina district in the second blaze at the structure since 2015.
Firefighters and police sealed off surrounding streets, which were partially covered by dust and debris.
By 4.00 a.m. the exterior of the building showed no sign of fire as residents and onlookers stood around staring up at the building, according to a Reuters witness.
“We were sleeping and we woke up to the fire alarm and people screaming. We ran down the stairs and it took us about 10 minutes to reach from the 50th floor,” a resident who gave his name as George, said.
“The fire was very strong at that time, about 1 a.m. Then it started calming down over the next two hours. It started on the 67th floor, that’s what we were told,” he added.
Another resident, whose name was Mohammed and lives on the 12th floor, said the top part caught fire first and then lower levels followed as debris fell.
The government said it is working on providing shelter for the ones affected by the fire.
Residents and eyewitnesses have been posting images and photos of the 79-story skyscraper on fire on social media.
Hundreds of people were evacuated in 2015 from the same building when a massive fire swept through the tower.
Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Gulf Arab trade and investment hub.
Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Bernard Orr and Andrew Hay