The Torch

Intense flames pierce night sky in Dubai as fire scorches exterior of 86-story-tall residential high-rise building facing the Persian Gulf

Frighteningly intense flames glowed 51 stories above the street within minutes of the first alarm at Dubai’s Marina Torch residential skyscraper, said Lt. Col. Ali Almutawa of Dubai Civil Defence. At night, it cast a ghostly illumination across the city’s crowded skyline of more than 900 high-rise buildings.

“Severe fire definitely spread upwards,” Almutawa said. “With all the flaming debris coming off the building, it was almost a three-dimensional fire.”

At that stage, responders had no idea how much fire might be developing inside, said Almutawa, DCD director of operations. That the damage remained mostly external is thanks to the building’s sprinkler system, Almutawa said.

“The sprinklers held the fire back beautifully,” Almutawa said.

All the statistics regarding the February 21 fire at the Marina Torch inspire awe. Completed in 2011, the 86-story structure was the world’s tallest residential building until an even taller one opened across the street the following year.

An estimated 1,750 Marina Torch residents were home the morning of the fire. All were safely evacuated with only minor cases of smoke inhalation reported.

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