Stray cigarette caused Tamweel fire - Dubai police

Fire that gutted residential tower last month likely caused by discarded butt

A fire that gutted Tamweel Tower in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers two weeks ago was started by a cigarette butt, most likely thrown over a balcony, an official report by Dubai Police said.

The discarded butt is thought to have ignited a pile of rubbish outside the building, which later engulfed the building in flames, according to a forensic laboratory report by Dubai Police.

Dubai Police said they are currently investigating whether or not the case is incidental or criminal.

Hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate the 34-storey high building after a huge fire broke out in the early hours of November 18. The fire started in a pile of waste material that had been left by contractors working on a shop inside the building, said the report.

The fire quickly spread up through the building’s highly-flammable aluminium and fiberglass cladding before reaching the roof, said the report. Once it had reached the roof, lit debris from the upper floors started to fall to the street below.

A spokesperson for Tamweel, the building’s developer, said the firm had yet to receive an official report.  “Tamweel is yet to receive the official report from Dubai Civil Defence into the cause of the recent fire at Tamweel Tower, and so is unable to comment at this time,” they said.

“Our priority remains the well-being of owners and residents, and we continue to strongly support the relief efforts of the Building’s Owners Association during this difficult period,” they added.

While there were no casualties, the incident raised concerns over building materials used to clad the exterior of many buildings in the UAE. Estimates have suggested that as much of 70 percent of buildings in the UAE are clad using a highly-flammable thermo-plastic between two sheets of aluminium.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: PCL

Does it really matter if it was a cigarette or something else? It's well known that a cigarette can start a trash fire; it's happened all over the world. The surprising thing is thing is that so many places have been build with this foam that would turn the average career-arsonist green with envy. Supposedly, if it is properly fireproofed, EPS foam can be safe, but I wouldn't bet my life on it; many plastics that are "fireproofed" will burn like crazy once a fire gets going and they get hot enough. It would be best to cover over these buildings with aerated concrete panels or just old fashioned real stucco.

Posted by: Nas

I doubt it was a cigarette butt. It's just not logical to exepect people to believe something like that. I hope the authoroties are looking deeper into this.

I'd suspect a fault in the electrical wiring system.

Posted by: maryam nademi

I woke up terrified seeing the buiding infront of me on fire at 3 am. mybedroom was lit with the light! it was looking like a catastrophy, watching the fire started from the top then it crawled down & wind caused to ignit other parts.
the bottom of the buiding is not burnt at all. A cigarrette but?!! seriously?! what are they talking about?!

Posted by: kingkaiser

A cigarette butt thrown over a balcony caused this? I'd hate to think of what would happen if someone *shudder* used candles, stoves, or electric equipment in their house...

Posted by: Red Snappa

If a cigarette but triggered a towering inferno of flame up the side of a residential building. then the whole question of building standards in Dubai should be called into question and reviewed on the flammable materials side plus the fire prevention systems.

Would you buy an apartment in a high-rise that use more or less the same materials, following this story, "only if there's a total smoking ban in the building, with severe punishments if broken," came the reply!"

Perhaps every building in the city needs to be reassessed, it makes you shudder to think about the possible 3consequences with wives and children involved.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Railways are huge priority for the GCC

Railways are huge priority for the GCC

Rail has the potential to dramatically affect Gulf economies...

Cash crunch at Saudi firm casts shadow over Lebanon's Hariris

Cash crunch at Saudi firm casts shadow over Lebanon's Hariris

The troubles at Saudi Oger have led to a cash crunch and layoffs...

Abandoned in Saudi desert camps, migrant workers won't leave without pay

Abandoned in Saudi desert camps, migrant workers won't leave without pay

Plight of workers has alarmed their home countries and drawn...

Most Discussed
  • 19
    It's time for restaurants to stop shaming smokers

    Comparing Driving to Smoking is the most shameless ploy to convince people that we should not persecute smokers.

    If your vehicle hits someone... more

    Thursday, 25 May 2017 12:47 PM - Elkhorn
  • 9
    Revealed: huge disparity in Dubai school fees

    I recall a recent study by Alpen Capital suggesting that the average cost of a child's entire life of schooling in Dubai is about AED 1 million. Although... more

    Monday, 29 May 2017 9:21 AM - New Expat
  • 5
    How Saudi Arabia blundered into OPEC oil cut

    Before Saudi Arabia's decision to move to unlimited production, analysts broadly thought break-even for shale was usd80. After the move, shale producers... more

    Tuesday, 30 May 2017 12:44 PM - Anastasios Dalgiannakis