Relieved residents return to Torch Tower, some wait

Relieved residents return to Torch Tower, some wait

Municipality workers clean up the area surrounding the tower; cause of the fire still being investigated.

By Nivriti Butalia/senior Reporter

Published: Tue 24 Feb 2015, 1:45 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:45 PM

Residents returning to the Torch Tower. -KT photo by Leslie Pableo

Dubai — Residents of Torch Tower — even though not all of them — have returned home.

“I am back home, and my appartment is okay”, says businesswoman Karla Seliman of the 71st floor who has been living in Torch Tower for two years. “The management has been amazing. They’ve taken such good care of everything. We’re all back in the building”. Karla spent Saturday night at her sister’s villa. But has moved back home as of Sunday afternoon.

The only grouse seems to be the slowed elevators, but people realise that’s the smallest price to pay.

On the 75th floor, personal trainer Cristina Castellucci and her husband, Luigi Anderlucci  even had guests over on Saturday night. The Castelluccis were back in the building on Saturday evening itself. “Only the lift is not working on our sides, but that’s okay — it’s even a good workout for the calves!”. How was being back home? She says “It was a strange feeling sleeping the first night after the fire, but that will go away in a week.” She went for a massage on Sunday “to just feel relaxed”.

There is though still some lingering fear. A resident of the 24th floor, Nilufer Kutukluoglu has been told by the security staff of the building that it is safe for her to re-enter her apartment. But she is hesitant and staying with a friend. She went back to “pick up some stuff, and am now at a friend’s place”. She says, “ I want to first see a clearance letter from the Civil Defence people” before she decides to move in or find another place. “I wanted to know what happened in the JLT building fire, how soon after it did they let people in, but there was nothing on the net.”

Kutukluoglu said there is a man in the reception area of Torch Tower with a list of the flat numbers that are safe to enter. A security personnel has been escorting the residents to their apartments to see if everything is okay.

Meanwhile, the director of the Waste Management Department at the Dubai Municipality, Abdul Majeed Al Saifaie, told Khaleej Times the department had sent a team of 150 workers to clean up the area surrounding the tower soon after they were informed of the fire.

“We began the operations at the earliest after receiving the information around 4.30am... We had to assign many workers together because the wind was spreading the debris around,” he said.

The municipal cleaners toiled very fast and cleaned the area within two hours, said Saifaie. “The area through which the Dubai Tram operates had to be cleaned up before 6am when the tram service began. We managed to do that”.

The municipality also sent out a specialized team to clean up the glass pieces shattered around the tower on Sunday.

Select Group, the developer of The Torch in Dubai Marina, thanked all parties “for bringing the situation swiftly under control”, and allowing residents to return to their homes within hours of the fire starting.

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