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Fire is engulfing a high-rise residential tower in Dubai in the middle of the night, sending plumes of smoke into the air and debris falling below. Police say no injuries have been reported so far in the blaze at the Torch Tower. (Aug. 3)
AP

Hours after flames that had engulfed more than 40 floors of the world’s tallest residential towers in Dubai were extinguished, the skyscraper was still closed, forcing residents of more than 600 apartments to find lodging elsewhere. 

The cause of the fire on was not immediately known but in the past, such infernos in Dubai have been linked to highly flammable building cladding blamed for the horrific June tower fire in London that left at least 80 dead.

It was the second major fire in the 1,100-foot Torch Tower in less than three years. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation, Gulf News reported.

Dubai’s Civil Defense announced at about 3:30 a.m. that firefighters had brought the blaze under control and said cooling operations were underway. Video showed the entire length of the tower, which soars 86 stories, charred on one side after flames erupted around 1 a.m.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” said Alireza Aletomeh, a resident of the tower. “I had cash in there, furniture, paintings. … Many things that are very valuable to me.”

Aletomeh, a sales manager, said he moved to the Torch Tower just three months ago, snagging an apartment on the 54th floor of the luxury tower. He said he was coming home after midnight when building security guards told him to remain in the street because a fire had erupted.

He said his roommate grabbed their passports and that it took him more than two hours to come down the stairway because of the rush of people trying to get out at the same time. At least one woman passed out in the stairway, Aletomeh said.