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Occupants forced to flee homes after 79-storey tower fire

Flames shoot up the sides of the Torch tower residential building in the Marina district, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, today. Picture: Mitch Williams/Reuters

DUBAI: Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that swept through one of the world’s tallest residential buildings in Dubai today, forcing occupants to flee their homes as burning debris showered down the sides of the 79-storey tower.

Dubai’s civil defence authorities said firefighting squads had put out the blaze and were cooling the 337m Torch tower.

The tower was evacuated and no injuries were reported, authorities said. Flames shot up the sides of the building in the city’s upscale Marina district in the second blaze at the structure since 2015.

Firefighters and police sealed off surrounding streets, which were partially covered by dust and debris.

“We were sleeping. We woke up to the fire alarm and people screaming. We ran down the stairs and it took us about 10 minutes to reach from the 50th floor,” a resident said.

“The fire was very strong at that time. It started on the 67th floor, that’s what we were told,” he added.

Another resident, who lives on the 12th floor, said the top part caught fire first and then lower levels followed as debris fell.

The government said it was working on providing shelter for the fire victims.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the building in 2015 when a fire swept through the tower. – Reuters