x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Hundreds flee fire in 76-storey Dubai Marina tower

Residents of more than 700 flats in the Al Sulafa Tower were woken about 5.45am by alarms set off by a fire in a flat on the 36th floor.

DUBAI // Hundreds of residents evacuated a 76-storey tower in the Dubai Marina after a fire broke out early yesterday.

Residents of more than 700 flats in the Al Sulafa Tower were woken about 5.45am by alarms set off by a fire in a flat on the 36th floor.

They rushed down the stairwells. Several elderly women who were unable to walk had to be carried to safety and collapsed afterwards.

"We initially thought it was a false alarm," said Dana, a resident of the 51st floor. "When it didn't stop I took the stairs down with my two kids and husband.

"I was very scared taking the steps. A man was carrying an old lady and walking down. It was not pleasant.

"I could smell the smoke when I reached the lobby. My sister lives in the same building and I kept calling her to check if she and her kids were all right."

Residents were not allowed to go to their homes until just after 9am when the fire was under control.

Dana said the incident had left her shaken.

"After this, I am willing to break my [tenancy] contract and leave," she said, adding she would prefer to live in a building with no more than 10 floors.

Another resident, Philippe Dajo, who lives on the 29th floor, said he saw "quite a few" women collapse.

"It was very hard to come down," Mr Dajo said. "People were sleepy and it was hot. We could smell the smoke."

Mr Dajo said the fire would not make him leave Al Sulafa Tower.

"I am not a big fan of high towers or skyscrapers but I am not going to make a move because of this," he said.

The tower's security supervisor, Raju Damang, said police were questioning the residents of the flat where the fire broke out.

"No one was hurt," Mr Damang said. "The kitchen and balcony were burnt. We don't know the source of the fire."

Another fire broke out yesterday at a warehouse near the fifth roundabout behind Harman House in Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.

A Dubai Civil Defence spokesman said the fire started in a pile of rubbish about 1.30pm and spread to a storage area.

"We do not know what is burning but fire trucks from several stations have gone there," he said.

A spokeswoman for DP World, which manages Jebel Ali Port, said the fire had caused no injuries.

The Civil Defence spokesman was not available to comment on the cause of the fire or what was stored in the warehouse.

But thick plumes of smoke could be seen from Sheikh Zayed Road.

pkannan@thenational.ae