A huge fire in the city of Ajman broke out Monday evening and raged through one tower and quickly spread to another high rise residential tower. A complex of 12 towers lost both towers eight and six to the fire.
The fire gutted apartments in the buildings. While many fled the flames with only what they could grab, there was no reports of casualties.
Residents in neighbouring towers were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
The fire continued well past midnight local time.
There have been several fires in the ultra-modern high rise buildings in the Gulf States. In December 2015 a luxury hotel in Dubai was destroyed. The 63 story building was successfully evacuated. Some of the survivors reported that there were no operating fire alarms and no sprinklers.
The cause of that fire has was deemed to be an electrical short, but suspicions are focussing on the exterior cladding of the building because of the speed of the fire. The cladding was added to the building’s exterior to provide insulation.
Unfortunately the insulation is made up of polyurethane foam which is flammable.
The insulating material was used extensively on buildings erected before 2013 when building codes were changed to prohibit that style of cladding. But as much as 70% of the buildings in Dubai have that dangerous insulation.
The insulation is not unique to the Gulf States. It was used in the UK but discontinued in the 1980s. Price is no guarantee of safety. The Address five-star hotel was in the ultra-expensive class.
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