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Wed 5 Dec 2012 12:23 PM

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Stray cigarette caused Tamweel fire - Dubai police

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

Stray cigarette caused Tamweel fire - Dubai police

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

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.

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His Excellency Dr Paul 7 years ago

Much as I am anti-smoking, the cigarette was not to blame.

It seems all those who warned that UAE building standards were unsafe were probably right.

I hope anyone who thinks property is taking off again has good insurance. And a good fire extinguisher.

RAH 7 years ago

"as much of 70 percent of buildings in the UAE are clad using a highly-flammable thermo-plastic between two sheets of aluminium."

So let me get this straight: a cigarette butt ignites garbage and the ignited garbage permeated a sheet of aluminium and caused a whole building to go up in flames?

Or does Tamweel have their own way of bringing the butt into the report to cover their shoddy building standards?

I don't buy the butt flying out of the balcony story, nor should the insurance companies do!

Grant Holt 7 years ago

I would imagine a bigger problem long-term for the owners associations, will be getting buildings insurance for these towers built with flammable material or the alternative costly repalcement of the flammable material.

Neithers going to be cheap and no insurance company worth their salt will touch thesse buildings without a heavy premium!

Dont think Ill be purchasing anytime soon with these risks.

Red Snappa 7 years ago

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.

kingkaiser 7 years ago

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...

maryam nademi 7 years ago

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?!

Nas 7 years ago

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.

PCL 7 years ago

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.