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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Dubai's Torch tower residents move back in to their apartments 

Some residents are allowed to return, as others have their hotel stays extended

Some Torch tower residents were allowed back in on August 5 to collect their belongings, pictured above. On Tuesday, those on the lower levels were allowed to move back in permanently.  Pawan Singh / The National.
Some Torch tower residents were allowed back in on August 5 to collect their belongings, pictured above. On Tuesday, those on the lower levels were allowed to move back in permanently. Pawan Singh / The National.

Residents living on the lower levels of Torch tower have been allowed to move back in to the damaged building.

The fire that ripped through the south side of one of the world's tallest residential buildings resulted in its evacuation of 475 people in the early hours of Friday morning. They were put up in hotels, or were staying with friends and family.

On Monday afternoon, those living on floors up to 28 were allowed to re-enter the building permanently.

Carlos Preira was one of the first to move his things back in to the building on Monday night.

He said it was "very quiet", and he had barely seen another person in the tower.

"I was expecting it to be quite busy after work with people finishing work.

"I didn't see any one else on my floor."

On Friday, a fire quickly spread to 64 floors, raising questions about how such a fast moving fire could be stalled in future. Karim Sahib / AFP
On Friday, a fire quickly spread to 64 floors, raising questions about how such a fast moving fire could be stalled in future. Karim Sahib / AFP

He said his apartment, on the 18th floor, was undamaged.

"There's a bit of debris on the balcony but that's it. The corridors still smell of smoke but it's not strong - apart from that it's fine."

Mr Preira said he was likely to be leaving Dubai in October, and if he didn't, he would probably move out.

Karim Emam checked out of his hotel and moved back in to his 15th floor apartment on Tuesday morning.

"I guess I'm one of the first people to get my stuff back in there again, it's still a bit vacant it seems," he said.

"There's still a manual lift - I don't know how it's going to be when I get home from work."

Emam said he was weighing up his options; whether to find a new tower to move to, or negotiate a discount rate on his current one.

"I just really want to clean my apartment, but I don't know how I'm going to be able to.

"It's not the same type of tower, it's just a place to sleep at night."

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Read more

Dubai community rallies around displaced Torch tower residents

Dubai Torch tower fire: internal e-mail shows repairs from first blaze had just been approved

Dubai Torch tower blaze: residents thought it was a false alarm

2015: Fire rips through Dubai’s Marina Torch

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It's the second such incident at the Dubai Marina tower, with damage to the exterior of the building caused by the 2015 fire having been approved just weeks before Friday's blaze.

John Taylor, an American businessman who survived both blazes at the tower, said he had been back into his 63rd floor apartment twice since the blaze.

His apartment was fine, he said, but his balcony was damaged.

"We're not allowed to go in there to take everything out, just the essentials," he said.

"They're renewed my hotel for two nights - it's kind of being done on a day-by-day nature. They say those who can't move back in will probably get two weeks [at a hotel]."

But it's not all bad for Taylor. He said the two-bedroom suite he'd been put up in, in Ghaya Grand Hotel in Sports City was "actually very nice".

"We're making do."

The inside of Tayyba Qureshi's apartment following the fire at the Torch tower on Friday morning. Courtesy Tayyba Qureshi
The inside of Tayyba Qureshi's apartment following the fire at the Torch tower on Friday morning. Courtesy Tayyba Qureshi

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