emergencies

Some residents let back into fire-hit Torch tower

Residents of flats on 6th to 28th floors allowed back to the building on Monday

Ali Al Shouk and Jumana Khamis, Staff Reporters
17:53 August 7, 2017
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Dubai: Many residents of Marina Torch tower have been allowed to move back into the skyscraper, which caught fire over the weekend.

"Dubai Police has now provided clearance for residents living on floors 6 to 28 inclusive to return to the their apartments," read a letter from the building's management on Monday. The tower has 87 floors in total.

The fire damaged 38 flats in the 87-storey residential skyscraper.

Police officers and building staff will facilitate the return of those residents until 9PM today and then from 9AM onwards tomorrow August 8.

Tenants asked to check out of their hotels that they had been staying in since the fire. Free hotel stays had been provided by Dubai authorities the building’s management firm.

Dubai Police said earlier that initial investigation in the tower is finished and Dubai Municipality are checking the lifts and electricity before allowing residents to return back.

The cause of the fire has not yet been revealed by Dubai Police, who are investigating.

In safe hands

One thing many residents recall about the night of the tower fire is the Dubai authorities’ efforts to manage the situation and calm frayed nerves.

Many residents were in a state of shock and panic after they were suddenly asked to evacuate the 87-floor building just after midnight on Friday.

Recalling what he described as a “scary” night, Jawad Kamal, a tenant who was not in his apartment, said he felt “blessed to be a Dubai resident” as he realised he was “in safe hands”.

Arriving at the scene with his wife and son after friends alerted him of the situation, Kamal said people were being evacuated as debris was falling from the middle floors of the building on to the sandy car park and the roads below. 

“People were panicking and some were crying, but police and other authorities were very gentle. They tried their best to calm everyone and even distributed water. They evacuated the building and put out the fire very quickly and handled the situation professionally,” Kamal said.

Rushing home with the hope of accessing his apartment to take some of his valuables including his passport, Kamal said he was pleased to find out his apartment was not impacted by the fire.

“I am an engineer so I noticed the fire authorities were using very modern and technologically advanced equipment to put out the fire. I really appreciate their efforts,” Kamal told Gulf News.

Along with other residents, Kamal and his family have been put up in Tamani Marina Hotel until further notice, while other residents have been placed in Media One Hotel.

British resident Victoria Lewis, said it took around 15 minutes for her and her friend to evacuate the building from the 58th floor.

“I was in bed when the alarm went off and I thought it was a false alarm, until I realized it wasn’t three minutes later, and that I had to run down the stairs,” said Lewis.

She had feared the fire had engulfed the lower floors preventing residents from evacuating, but was glad to be standing outside on the road a short while later.

“As more people started heading to the staircase, panic started to raise as well. There were two sets of staircases, which helped with the evacuation. I was running so fast, I still cant walk properly today,” she said.

Another Torch resident, Gabriella S. from Brazil, said her and her husband were getting ready for bed when the alarm and sirens went off.

Having only lived in the building for six months, S. described the night as a “terrible experience,” but was pleased with how authorities contained the situation.

“We were lucky that our apartment on floor 26 wasn’t affected, but it has been very inconvenient for my husband who has to go back and forth to get clothes for work,” she said.

Dubai police and Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) are currently investigating the cause of the fire, and will make an announcement to residents once it is safe to return to their apartments.

FROM THE MANAGEMENT

Below is the building management's notice to residents.


Dear Resident,

Dubai Police have now provided clearance for residents living on floors 6 to 28 inclusive to return to their apartments in Torch Tower.

Please note that residents on floors 6-28 will be given gradual access to the apartments in coordination with the management of Torch, please bear with us and wait in the reception of the Torch until you can be assisted to your apartment. 

Police officers and security with facilitate the return for those residents from 1pm today (Monday) until 9:00pm this evening. Dubai police will then resume their assistance for those residents from 9:00 am onwards tomorrow (Tuesday), August 8th.

If you are working and unable to check out of your hotel, please call the hotel you are staying with and inform them of the time you will be there to collect your things. If possible, please take your belongings to the hotel concierge for handling until you can check out correctly. 

Residents will be asked to identify themselves at Torch Tower reception where they will subsequently assisted by police and building staff for help and security in returning to their apartments.

Where apartment doors have been damaged by Dubai Civil Defense during their attendance to the fire incident, building carpenters/locksmiths are on hand to provide emergency repairs, if required.

It is advisable that residents do not bring their vehicles back to the building at this time – if this is unavoidable, building security and Police will try to assist in this regard.

Elevators are in manual mode and are currently being operated by building staff. Staff on site will assist residents in calling elevators when needed.

Kind regards,
The Managment