A huge fire broke out at the #Marina Torch Tower, which caused substantial damage. Video footage showed flames shooting up from the sides of the upscale residential building early on Friday. Authorities managed to evacuate all residents and no injuries were reported. Firefighting squads from up to four stations helped bring the #Blaze under control.

Debris was falling from the tower's top floors, which is one of the tallest buildings in the world. The tower is home to many foreigners and was the scene of another blaze in February 2015. Experts singled out external cladding on the structure for the rapid spread of fire. As a result, renovations were in progress.

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Use of cladding

When the firefighters brought the blaze under control, the Dubai Civil Defense began cooling operations. The incident highlights the issue of flammable building materials on the exteriors of tall structures, including London's Grenfell Tower. The majority of Dubai's tall buildings feature cladding panels with thermoplastic cores.

The panels come with polyurethane or plastic fillings that are fitted between aluminum sheets. Experts say the cladding is not hazardous. However, it can be flammable depending on a variety of factors. The building's design can allow the flames to reach the exterior through windows, thus exposing the cladding to the blaze.

Witness accounts

Residents report waking up to screams as residents rushed down the stairs. Some of the people interviewed by journalists said it took about 10 minutes to reach the ground from the 50th floor.

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Social media was filled with images of the blaze and many reported that the fire reached the roof rapidly. Residents and onlookers said the incident was terrifying as burning debris poured down onto the ground while authorities evacuated the tower. However, the cause of the fire has not been identified.

The authorities sealed a number of roads around the affluent Marina District as debris from the Torch Tower blaze was scattered on the streets.

The fire was reportedly intense around 1 am. Residents say it began calming around 3 am as firefighting squads worked tirelessly to bring it under control.

The Marina Torch Tower is 1,105 foot tall and has become the latest scene of the fire incident. Many other blazes involving high-rise buildings have occurred in the United Arab Emirates since 2014. The country revised its building safety code in 2013.