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Wed 6 May 2020 04:34 PM

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Tower in Sharjah blaze used now banned cladding

At least 12 people were injured in the fire, which took place at the 51-storey Abbco Tower in Sharjah shortly after 9pm

Tower in Sharjah blaze used now banned cladding
People stand on a bridge and watch a fire that erupts in a 51-Storey Residential Tower in Sharjah on May 5, 2020. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

A Sharjah residential tower that was engulfed in a massive blaze on Tuesday was covered in cladding that has been banned for over three years, according to civil defence officials.

At least 12 people were injured in the fire, which took place at the 51-storey Abbco Tower in Sharjah shortly after 9pm.

According to civil defence officials, the building – which was built in 2005 – was still equipped with once widely used cladding that banned in the UAE in 2016 after a series of fires.

“The fire spread faster because of the cladding,” Colonel Sami Al Naqbi, the head of Sharjah Civil Defence, told reporters on Wednesday. “Since the building is somewhat old, it was installed with the cladding before it was banned.”

While it is forbidden to use the older cladding in new construction projects, authorities have not mandated that buildings be retrofitted.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The now banned cladding material – a form of composite cladding panel – was found to be a factor in a number of high profile fires in Dubai, including that of The Torch tower in Dubai Marina and the Address Downtown.

In the UK, investigators also determined that the cladding was a factor in the Grenfell Tower blaze, which killed 72 people.

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