Flames engulf luxury tower in Dubai

One of Dubai’s tallest luxury towers was engulfed in flames Saturday from a fire that began on the 51st floor.

The 1,105 foot (336 meter) tower is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.

Hundreds of residents fled as firefighters evacuated the building.

The luxury apartments are home to hundreds of expatriates in the popular Dubai Marina neighborhood, which is known for its high concentration of residential towers.

The skyscraper suffered extensive damage, gutting the upper portion of the 79th floor and affecting 20 other floors, as the flames were fueled by high winds.

Mehdi Ansari, tower resident, said he heard the fire alarm go off around 2 am. “I saw there was fire and pieces of the building falling down so I immediately took my wife and our baby. We took some important items and went down.

“When we went to the staircase, it was full of smoke. Later the staircase got busier and smokier, the lights went off and some people panicked.”

It took firefighters more than two hours to fight the blaze.

Civil defense teams were able to clear the building and stop the fire from spreading to nearby towers. They said the fire started on the 51st floor and quickly spread across the façade of the tower, affecting 20 stories.

Several near-by towers were also evacuated.

Dubai police said seven people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, but there were no fatalities.

The last major skyscraper fire was in Dubai’s Tamweel Tower in nearby Jumeriah Lake Towers district in 2012. The cause for that fire was later determined to be a discarded cigarette butt in a bin.

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