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.