Blaze rips through Dubai skyscraper The Torch

Blaze rips through Dubai skyscraper The Torch for second time in two years
2 min read
04 August, 2017
An eerie atmosphere surrounds the Torch Tower on the Dubai waterfront, as questions emerge as to how the same mistake was allowed to happen again.
A large residential tower in Dubai caught fire for the second time in two years on Thursday night, with concerns raised over lessons learned from the previous disaster.

The Torch Tower, the fifth largest residential tower in the world and a popular spot among expats, hit the headlines for the second time two months ago after comparisons were made with London's Grenfell Tower blaze.

"So far, there have been no reports of any injuries resulting from the fire incident at the Torch Tower, after the Civil Defence teams organised a successful evacuation," the Dubai government said in a statement.

Initial reports from residents suggest the fire alarm caused most to evacuate to safety in a short time-frame. The cause of the fire is uncertain.

Footage from the fire shows flaming debris falling from the building, in scenes hauntingly reminiscent of the fire at Grenfell Tower which killed more than 80 people.

'Torch' Tower

The 79-storey Torch Tower, opened in 2011, last caught fire on February 21, 2015 after the cladding, attached to the outside of the building, caught fire.

It was still undergoing restoration work from this last disaster when it caught fire – for the second time – on Thursday.

Dubai Marina is a popular expat neighbourhood that has a high concentration of residential towers. It is also a major tourist attraction. 

Torch Tower 2015
The Torch Tower after the previous blaze in 2015

Dubai, known for its skyline of hugely varied skyscrapers, has seen fires at towers in the past. 

In 2012, a huge blaze gutted the 34-storey Tamweel Tower in the nearby Jumeirah Lake Towers district. It was later revealed to have been caused by a cigarette butt thrown into a bin. 

One expert in the UAE estimated after the 2015 fire that 70 percent of Dubai's high-rise buildings used cladding made of a flammable plastic core similar to that used in Grenfell.

This was expected to change earlier this year, after the government passed new fire safety regulations requiring the replacement of flammable cladding with a more fire-resistant alternative.