Update: Fire breaks out in Tamweel Tower in JLT

Tamweel Building in Dubai's JLT gutted by early morning fire

Fire working its way up a sheltered corner in the facade, fuelled by flammable cladding on two sides.
Fire working its way up a sheltered corner in the facade, fuelled by flammable cladding on two sides.

A large fire broke out in the Tamweel Towers in Dubai in the early hours of the morning, causing residents to be evacuated. Officials have confirmed that there were no casualties.

According to eyewitnesses, burning debris was responsible for spreading the fire to different floors.

Members of the civil defense fire team present at the site explicitly blamed the tower's flammable cladding, which allowed the fire to spread rapidly up the building and set alight to the entire crown.

The ferocity of the blaze and the thick debris initially prevented the emergency services from making their approach to the building, and water hoses had to be aimed at the fire from an adjacent tower.

Three surrounding buildings had to be evacuated, and residents milled below behind a security cordon.

Property developer Tamweel posted a statement on the Dubai Financial Market, thanking Dubai Civil Defense for containing the blaze and saying: "Our very highest priority is the safety and well-being of the residents."

According to Tamweel's website, the tower has 34 storeys, office and retail space, and 160 apartments.

To see a video of the blaze click here; for a picture gallery of unfolding events click here

The firefighters added that, although they had entered the building and not seen much damage on the lower floors, it was clear that the fire had worked its way deeper into the building on the upper levels.

The incident again raises questions about the safety of the flammable aluminium composite panels used to clad many of Dubai's existing buildings, of which as many as 500 are estimated to be fire-susceptible.

In this instance the cladding on the crown was particularly catalytic as the flammable panels were held aloft on a decorative frame, surrounded on all sides by an air supply, which encouraged particularly rapid combustion.

At this stage it remains unclear whether or not the tower will be able to be refurnished, but the fire at the crown will likely have severely damaged the HVAC and other utilities servicing the building.

Tamweel staff are now on site and are providing transportation and hotel accomodation "to any resident who requires such assistance", and can be contacted through their Business Avenue office in Deira.

"Tamweel is wholly focused on the safety and well-being of the residents and staff," reiterated the developer.

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