Early Saturday morning, a 34-story residential tower in Dubai burst into flames running its entire height. The 160-unit Tamweel Tower, located in a complex of towers known as the Jumeirah Lakes Towers, caught fire at 2:30a.m. local time, sending hundreds of residents into the streets to seek refuge in a nearby park. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but The National reported that some believe the fire may have started near the roof and propelled down the tower by the building’s flammable cladding material, a similar phenomenon as what happened to Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV tower in China a few years ago when fireworks sparked a major blaze on the under-construction tower and the nearby 40-story Al Tayer Tower that caught fire earlier this year.
Metal panels comprising the Tamweel Tower‘s facade are thought to have included a flammable thermoplastic core, making the entire building a towering inferno waiting to happen. “The cladding acted as a fuel and this resulted in the damage we have seen,” Sandy Dweik, a building consultant, told The National. You can see pieces of the cladding material on fire flying off the tower in the videos above, setting smaller fires on neighboring balconies. An investigation has begun to determine the official cause of the fire.
Fortunately, police said there are no reported casualties and some of the displaced residents have been allowed back in to retrieve personal belongings.