Dubai Marina Torch Tower residents waiting to return home
06 AUG 2017
The residents have been given accommodation in some hotels. Residents of the Torch Tower remain in the dark on when they’ll be able to return to their apartments in the building that caught fire on Friday, midnight.
The residents have been given accommodation in Dubai Hotels, such as Media One, Intercontinental and Raddison Blu, however, they do not know how long their stay will be.
The authorities are still doing inspections and residents will be allowed back inside once they are over. So far, residents were allowed back into the apartments on Friday night and Saturday to retrieve their luggage.
This is the second time the Torch Tower has caught fire in two years. The first time was in February, 2015, when the fire started around the 52nd floor and spread quickly.
One resident who lives on the 50th floor told Khaleej Times that he’s unsure when authorities will ask him to return home.
He said: “My apartment was damaged. We’ve been in this apartment for for months and I travel a lot, so I didn’t get time to get insurance. I woke up around midnight and I saw that the floors above us were on fire.
“Today in the morning (August 5) we were allowed to go back in to collect important luggage and I saw that my apartment was damaged. It was damaged from the balcony all the way in the lounge area, but our neighbors had a bit more damage,” he said.
Media One hotel is currently accommodating 94 people in 47 rooms, which includes 10 children. They have offered the hotel for four days as it is still unclear when the residents will be able to return home.
A statement from the Media One hotel to Khaleej Times said: “Media One along with the rest of local community were more than happy to support the residents of the Torch Tower after the fire on Friday morning. With assistance from Dubai Municipality, the building Management and our advertising partner Dance FM we were able to house 94 residents, including 10 children.
“We have also received support from Zoom who were very generous with donations of food and water to residents of the Torch, many of whom walked here just with the clothes that they are wearing. It’s great to see all businesses, residents and authorities pull together to help out.”
Frightened, confused and worried – these were the emotions running through a South African expat’s body as he clenched the hands of his two young children and fled the building going up in flames.
The expat, who lives in the 50th floor of the Dubai Marina Torch Tower, said he woke up a little after midnight on Friday and went over to his balcony after smelling smoke and saw debris falling from the floors above.
He and other residents of the 87-residential building have described the horror scene of fleeing the burning building to Khaleej Times.
“I walked over to the balcony and saw that the building was on fire. I immediately woke my up my two kids and wife and we left our apartment. It was scary and we didn’t think this would happen again. I knew that the building got on fire before, but we didn’t think history would repeat,” he said.
“Me, my wife and my kids went down the stairs from our floor and there were many other people, obviously, fleeing the building as well.”
The expat was allowed to go back up to retrieve his important belongings on Saturday morning and he saw that his balcony and lounge area was damaged by the fire. He has been given hotel accommodation, however, he does not know when he’ll be allowed to return to his home.
A UK expat who lives on the 48th floor, Michelle Hughes, said her heart “almost stopped” when the fire alarms went off.
“My husband wasn’t home when it happened, so it was just me and our baby. I picked her up in my arms and ran to the stairs. At that moment, I don’t know what I thought or felt – I just knew that we had to get out of the building as soon as possible,” she said.
“You don’t ever think something like this can happen to you, but then it does and you’re left completely speechless. I’m glad that no one was hurt and the firefighters fought the fire so bravely.”
Even though residents had to go through this ordeal, nearby hotels and residents offered help to the stranded tenants.
Westin Hotel in Dubai Marina had tweeted: “To anyone affected by the #TorchTower fire, we have opened up The Westin Ballroom should you need shelter for the weekend or refreshments.”
Tariq Zabian tweeted: “I’ve got 2 spare bedrooms here on the Palm to anyone affected by the #TorchTower fire.”
Imad Jawad tweeted: “Happy to host up to 2 people in Sky Tower in #DIFC. Get in touch, there’s a cat and copious amounts of ice cream.”
And Bader tweeted: “Happy to offer temp stay to anyone in need – right next door at Sulafa tower. Get in touch!