Latest high-rise blaze in Dubai puts focus back on fire safety

DUBAI // The latest high-rise blaze in Dubai again focuses attention on the issue of fire safety in tall buildings. Residents had to be removed from Sulafa Tower in Dubai Marina on Wednesday afternoon as flames spread through the 75-storey, 285-metre high residential building. Civil defence crews were able to bring the blaze under control […]

DUBAI // The latest high-rise blaze in Dubai again focuses attention on the issue of fire safety in tall buildings.

Residents had to be removed from Sulafa Tower in Dubai Marina on Wednesday afternoon as flames spread through the 75-storey, 285-metre high residential building.

Civil defence crews were able to bring the blaze under control in about three hours, with no injuries reported.

Previous to the Sulafa Tower blaze, firefighters have had to deal with three major incidents in the emirate in the past four years, reportedly fuelled by combustible aluminium panelling.

These included The Torch apartment building last year, in which more than 100 flats were severely damaged, and the 2012 blaze that gutted Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Most notable was the fire that broke out at The Address Downtown Dubai hotel on New Year’s Eve, causing severe damage to the tower.

In Ajman, a fire destroyed dozens of apartments in towers eight and six of the Ajman One complex. The exact cause of the fire was not determined by authorities, but an Ajman Police laboratory report stated that flaming material fell from a flat and landed on construction waste in front of Tower Eight.

An amended UAE Fire and Life Safety Code, which is to be released this year, will include fines levied on building consultants should faulty fire safety material be discovered by civil defence inspectors.

Manufacturers who sell building materials not approved by authorities will for the first time face prosecution under new provisions in the updated fire safety code.

The speed at which flames took hold of The Address Downtown Dubai hotel led authorities to clamp down on the use of combustible plastic-filled aluminium composite panels.

Yet the most fire-retardant wall panels were still not being used on buildings across the country despite the fires.

Three of the world’s top aluminium composite panel makers confirmed that demand for their highest-rated panels was almost non-existent in the region.

A 2012 building code introduced in Dubai aimed at halting the use of flammable aluminium composite panels was still not being fully implemented because of the high cost of system tests.

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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