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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Residents forced to temporarily evacuate Torch Tower 

The sounding fire alarm at 4.30am turned out to be due to a technical issue

The Torch Tower, center, still bears the marks of fire damage caused by a blaze in 2015 and another earlier this month. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
The Torch Tower, center, still bears the marks of fire damage caused by a blaze in 2015 and another earlier this month. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

Torch tower residents faced yet another night of worry on Thursday as they were forced to evacuate the skyscraper for the second time in less than two weeks.

An alarm sounded at about 4.30am, forcing families from their beds and into the stairwells as they scrambled belongings together before rushing for the exits.

Residents have described a chaotic scene, as many feared the building was alight for a third time.

Yazen Al Timimi, a Canadian consultant living on the 22nd floor of The Torch, immediately headed for the stairwell outside his door when he heard the alarms sound.

“I heard the alarm for about a minute, it then stopped,” he said.

“After what happened the other week I panicked and took some clothes, money and my passport and ran downstairs.

“There were families with babies trying to get out. Everything above the 28th floor is still empty. We thought it was the same thing happening again. Everyone was in panic mode, some were barefoot.

“As I was going down the floors, I didn’t see any security guards guiding people where they should go.

“People were getting tired and were stopping to rest. When we got to the ground floor, we found out it was a technical issue, so went back up.”

Many residents living above the 60th floor are yet to move back in, as extensive repairs continue.

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Read more:

Home insurance sales up after Torch fire but ‘residents lack knowledge of coverage’

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

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

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Kingfield Owner Association Management Services had provided temporary accommodation to those displaced whilst the restoration work continues indefinitely.

Shortly before the second fire broke out overnight on Thursday, August 3, residents at The Torch had received an e-mail announcing Dubai Civil Defence had signed off exterior repairs following a similar fire in February 2015.

Mr Al Timimi, who was out at the time of the second fire this month, said his flat escaped serious damage, but debris has fallen onto his balcony.

“The security guards told us in the morning it was a false alarm,” he said.

“The building is a mess, the elevators are not fully functional and it is still very damaged. I feel like I’m living in a building that is still being built.

“People who have moved back in are living on the edge. Before, if an alarm sounded I wasn’t that bothered. I’m much more aware now.

“The management company kept us informed after the previous fire and it was managed well, but I’ve heard nothing about what happened last night.”

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