Following the outbreak of a devastating fire that ripped through a 34-storey building in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) on Sunday, the owner has assured residents it is committed to their safety and well-being while initial finger-pointing is being aimed at the building’s materials.
The fire at Tamweel Tower erupted in the early hours of the morning causing huge devastation to the building, forcing the evacuation of all its tenants. There were no reported casualties.
While the cause of the fire is still unknown, rumours are circulating it may have been related to an air-conditioning unit as the fire is believed to have started on the 34th floor – a service floor which houses an air-conditioning plant.
Others have suggested the investigation will focus on whether the building’s materials – namely the type of cladding – accelerated the fire, causing it to spread across lower floors.
Tamweel, a UAE Islamic finance provider, says it is working closely with the Dubai Civil Defence and is ‘wholly focussed on the safety and well-being of the residents and staff’.
“At Tamweel, our very highest priority is the safety and well-being of the residents,” said Varun Sood, acting CEO, of Tamweel.
“Our staff are on site and have provided transportation and hotel accommodation, in coordination with DMCC, to any resident who requires such assistance. We remain full committed to ensuring their well-being.”
The fire is believed to have started on or near the top floor before spreading down the East side of the building.
Speaking to The National newspaper, Sandy Dweik of Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants, said the speed of the blaze indicated the building’s cladding helped to spread the fire.
“The fire appears to have started on or near the crown at the top of the building, which was covered in this cladding,” Dweik said.
“The fire then spread down to the cladding, which is installed in strips running down the side of the building. The cladding acted as a fuel and this resulted in the damage we have seen.”
Dweik added the height of the tower and the fire’s source at the top of the building will have made it difficult for firefighters to tackle the blaze. The fire started around 2am on Sunday and is believed to have continued blazing for around four hours.
Videos and images taken by residents of Tamweel Tower and its neighbouring buildings show large amounts of flaming cladding falling from the top of the building, some landing on lower balconies.
The statement released by Tamweel also said it would continue to serve its customers through its Deira and Abu Dhabi offices.
“We will continue to work closely with the Civil Defence, and will continue to provide such updates as and when appropriate.”