Dubai Marina Torch tower residents express fear
Ironically named building in Dubai Marina has seen many false fire alarms in the past
Photo retrieved from @ZKhanOfficial Twitter account
Dubai: “No injured, all safe” is the shorthand used by the manager of the firefighters, who tells Khaleej Times: “all under control now, Alhamdulliah”.
The blaze in the wee hours of Saturday morning caught at least dozens of residents of the 86-floors building unawares. “I was sleeping. I got a call from my friend to get out of the building,” says a Turkish national of the 21st floor waiting in her night clothes under the building. She’s waiting for cops and firefighters to give the all clear sign. She says she wants only to go back, “collect my stuff and never come back”.
Residents asking the police for updates about the damage
The sandstorm and haze hanging over the city hasn’t helped appease people’s fears. “I want to know what caused the fire, whether the sand storm accelerated it” says a middle-aged German man in a red tee shirt, whose apartment is on the 40th floor. “But we’re not getting any details.”
Fire trucks stationed outside Torch tower
The expression on the faces of residents is telling - red eyes, under slept eyes, some teary eyes, as well. Frown lines belie the fear that some openly admit to.
'The fire alarm went off, I called down and they said everything was okay, but then they came and made me come down. They haven't given us much information since I came down and I heard that maybe alarm just went off again'- resident, didn't want to be named.
Residents and people from nearby buildings gather across the road at Princess Tower
The building evacuation seems to have been conducted calmly, according to residents on even the 60th floor. “There were babies and about 200-300 people on the staircase when I was coming down,” says Dan, who doesn’t want his name mentioned. “It was very orderly and calm. I was awake as I had just returned from someplace. I heard the alarm and first thought it’s another false one. We have false alarms here all the time...”
Displaced residents wait for news of when it's safe to re-enter the building and what caused the fire
Security personnel in authoritative neon jackets tell people to clear the area, and stay on the opposite side of the road “because things can fall from top’. So there is a huddle under princess tower. People are on their phones. Some looking up, hands in pocket. A child nearby is out cycling, despite the sandstorm. Neighbours and strangers have been made into a group, all looking up at their building, wearing expressions of worry and uncertainty.
The residents are now mostly on the 97th floor of the Princess Tower across the street and are being briefed by fire wardens as more information comes in. They are being provided with coffee and snacks. Most of them are lying down on mattresses and couches.
With inputs from Bernd Debusmann, pictures by senior reporter, Nivriti Butalia
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