They Keep Building Them – They Keep Burning Them
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, HELD THEIR SEMI-ANNUAL high rise fire Sunday morning, this time in a 34-story apartment building.
The fire started around 1:30 am on one of the upper floors, then spread downward through the facade setting fires along the way following a pattern of several previous fires. Hundreds of fire and police responded to get the 600 residents evacuated as the fire burned unchecked for several hours until it was brought under control about 8 hours later.
It is not yet known how or why the fire got started, but it gutted the top three floors of the building and burned out several other apartments in the lower floors.
Many high-rise buildings in Dubai have been sheathed with decorative facade panels that are of a highly-flammable styrofoam type of material. They easily catch fire and it spreads through the void behind it, sometimes running the entire face of the building which usually does not have standpipes or fire pumps inside. They have one of these about every six months. The Khaleej Times reports:
Several residents took refuge in parking lots as firefighters tried to contain the blaze ravaging through the lower floor. Falling debris made the operation even more difficult as large chunks of the building façade melted and fell on cars parked below, which caught fire.
“From downstairs in Cluster X, we could hear the fire crackling, there were ashes floating everywhere and these huge, flaming chunks falling off the building, starting their own on-ground chaos. Facades of the building were just bursting into flames.”
This video taken by a citizen of today's fire shows the flaming chunks of facade dropping down the building, some starting new fires as they go:
The Khaleej Times has a good accounting of the fire HERE.
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- Saturday CarToon: 2013 Dubai 24 – February 23, 2013