The iconic Torch Tower of Dubai Marina proved to be ironically named in the early hours of Saturday morning, as fire broke out in one corner of the 50th floor — quickly spreading upwards to engulf several levels, the Telegraph reports. The 79-floor building, which opened in 2011, rises more than 1,000 feet above its glamorous neighborhood and comprises 676 residential apartments. Though there appears to have been a delay in sounding the alarm, no serious casualties were reported.
A spokesperson for Dubai Civil Defence told Gulf News that the fire was brought under control at “around 4:24 am.” Mishal Abdul Kareem Mohammad, Acting Director of the Operations Department of the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, explained the type of injuries that were dealt with by emergency services attending the incident.
“There were a total of 10 patients. One was a yellow patient – a pregnant lady who was having difficulty breathing. But that’s about it. The other nine patients suffered from smoke inhalation and small abrasions and we treated them on the scene. There were no major injuries or burns.”
Four of the minor injuries were sustained by passersby due to debris falling from the burning skyscraper. The Independent reports that Mehdi Ansari — resident of the 27th floor — became aware of the danger to those outside, but praised the emergency services.
“I saw fire falling from the window. The firefighters did well. They were pretty quick, they organised people, got them out, gave them water and found others.”
Gulf News reports that resident Ahmed Al Atawi initially delayed his exit from the building due to the high volume of false fire alarms that have occurred recently.
“Security guards knocked on our doors several times after the alarms started ringing, so we got dressed to leave. I couldn’t think of anything else other than my wife and child, so I grabbed our passports. I even left my phone upstairs, and we headed to the exit.
“We usually have all these false alarms, so when I heard this one, I thought I’ll just carry on sleeping – it’s probably nothing.”
Another, anonymous resident told Gulf News that the fire alarm failed to sound at all until it was manually activated some time after the fire was discovered.
“The thing is, me and my friend were the first two people who realised the building was on fire, and we called 999 at 1.50am and ran [along] our floor (30th) and rang on neighbours doors and bells and told them that the building was on fire, but the fire alarm was not turned on.
“So we ran to the exit stairs and while we reached the 20th floor, the alarm was still not turned on, so I personally turned on the alarm manually by breaking the alarm button.”
Residents were not expected to be allowed to return to unaffected apartments until later on Saturday. Residents of the upper levels will be unable to return for many days, as an investigation into the Torch Tower blaze gets underway.
[Image: Warren Little/Getty Images]