Authorities are investigating the cause of a massive fire Sunday (April 2) at a tower complex under construction in Downtown Dubai—the latest in a spate of high-rise fires in the area since 2012.
Reports say the fire started around 5:30 a.m. at the site of The Address Residences Fountain Views, near Dubai’s largest mall and the world’s largest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa. Officials said the fire began in the parking level of the building site.
Three workers were reportedly rescued from inside the structure and taken to a nearby hospital for examination, according to reports, citing the Dubai Civil Defense. Those officials also described the incident as an “accident,” but did not indicate a cause.
Emaar Properties is the developer behind the Fountain Views complex, which will feature three towers, each 60 floors. The project was to be complete in April 2018, Aljazeera reported. In a statement, the “state-backed” company said it was “awaiting the final report” from investigators, according to the Associated Press.
Construction workers watched as firefighters put out the flames. Photos and videos posted online showed thick black smoke smothering buildings in the desert city’s downtown.
Sky-High Fire Problems
Major fires have been a problem for skyscrapers in Dubai and other areas in the United Arab Emirates for several years. In fact, a neighboring structure, the 63-story The Address Downtown Dubai, caught fire in December 2015, amid New Year’s Eve celebrations. Sixteen people were injured in that fire.
Experts have pinned blame for such fires on flammable building materials, specifically non-fire-rated aluminum panels. The National estimates that at least 70 percent of buildings in the UAE have facade cladding with a thermoplastic core between aluminum sheets.
Authorities maintain that they have changed fire safety rules in the wake of the fires. In December 2016, the government announced a new laboratory to test the fire resistance of building products, including cladding, thermal insulation materials and concrete blocks.