Fire engulfs 72-storey skyscraper in downtown Dubai

Associated Press
Members of the Dubai Civil Defence arrive at the scene of the fire which broke out on Sunday morning - AFP

A blaze engulfed a 72-storey tower complex being built alongside Dubai's largest shopping mall on Sunday.

Thick black smoke shrouded surrounding buildings in a desert metropolis where skyscraper blazes remain a worry.

Authorities said the fire caused no injuries, but the blaze happened just a block away from the 63-storey The Address Downtown Dubai tower, which burned in an inferno seen around the world on New Year's Eve in 2015.

The fire began at around 5.30am in the Fountain Views complex Credit: Handout/Reuters

Sunday's fire at The Address Residences Fountain Views complex began at around 5.30am, just before sunrise. Maj Gen Rashid Thani al-Matrooshi, the director-general of Dubai Civil Defence, described the fire as an "accident" that started in a parking level of the high-rise Fountain Views building. He did not immediately offer a cause.

Dubai Civil Defence also posted a picture online of three workers it said it rescued from inside the structure. It said the men were taken to hospital to be examined.

The blaze spread through the building after starting on a parking level of the 72-storey tower Credit: handout/Reuters

Anthea Ayache, who witnessed the blaze, said firefighters responded quickly and many construction workers were nearby, watching the fire from a safe distance.

"There's so many fire brigades, so they seem to have gotten on top of it very quickly," she said.

The blaze at the high-rise Fountain Views complex, which is being built by state-backed Dubai developer Emaar Properties Credit:  KARIM SAHIB/AFP

Later on Sunday morning, flames still licked out of the podium level of the building as firefighters on ladders shot water inside.

Every few minutes small blasts could be heard, presumably from exploding propane or welding tanks left behind by construction workers. Civil defence officials also used a flying drone to observe the blaze.

Flames licked out of the podium level of the building as firefighters battled the blaze Credit:  Jon Gambrell/AP

The high-rise Fountain Views complex, which is being built by state-backed Dubai developer Emaar Properties, will eventually connect to the massive Dubai Mall across the street. It is planned to hold 788 apartments and a hotel.

Emaar, which built both the Dubai Mall and the tower struck by the 2015 blaze, declined to immediately comment.

Smoke shrouded nearby buildings. Three workers were evacuated from the blazing building Credit:  STRINGER/Reuters

Dramatic fires have hit skyscrapers in Dubai and other fast-growing cities in the United Arab Emirates in recent years. Building and safety experts have cited a popular type of cladding covering the buildings that can be highly flammable.

Authorities say they have changed fire safety rules to address the danger, but have offered few details.

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