Dozens of British expats made homeless by Torch Tower blaze

Published:  7 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Germany, Dubai
Torch Tower residents allowed into their apartments on Saturday to collect their valuables found everything from water damage to burnt-out interiors.

Expats and Dubai nationals who’d fled Friday’s huge fire at the prestigious skyscraper were allowed to return to their homes to collect valuables and essential documents before an investigation of the blaze took place and renovations were started. As well as apartments which had fire damage including charred furniture and wrecked interiors, same units had sustained water damage during firefighters’ attempts to deal with the inferno.

At present, residents have no idea as to when they will be allowed to move back and are being housed in nearby hotels. One German expat told Gulf News reporters she’d been lucky as her 17th floor condo had escaped both the fire and water damage, adding she’d now been able to remove important documents and electronic equipment. She’s staying with friends and is attempting to forget residents’ screaming, panicking and crying as they fled from the building.

One British expat living on the 44th floor described how she was woken by the fire alarm and opened her door to check what was going on, as false alarms weren’t uncommon. Confronted by men, women and whole families rushing in panic towards the stairs, she realised this was the real deal and joined them. She told reporters no-one seemed to know exactly where the fire was in the building, and the heat and panic built as the crowd negotiated the thousands of steps to safety.

Dozens of other Britons had apartments in Torch Tower and are being put up in Dubai hotels until the situation becomes clearer. According to local Civil Defence officials, 38 apartments out of the tower’s 676 suffered severe fire damage, with the worst area located on the building’s south-facing corner. Social media posts are offering help and accommodation to those affected, with several expat posters suggesting it's time the skyscraper was renamed as this was the second conflagration in three years. Meanwhile, police are still attempting to find the source of the fire.
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