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United Arab Emirates towers fire extinguished

Published 29/03/2016

Fire and smoke billow from a high-rise building in Ajman, United Arab Emirates (AP)
Fire and smoke billow from a high-rise building in Ajman, United Arab Emirates (AP)
Officials watch as a fire spreads up the side of a high-rise building in Ajman, United Arab Emirates (AP)

A fire that erupted and burned up the side of several towers in the United Arab Emirates city of Ajman has been extinguished.

Civil defence authorities put out the fire on Tuesday morning at the Ajman One development in Ajman, a city that is home to many commuters who work in the Gulf commercial hub of Dubai, further to the south.

The towers are still being sprayed with water to cool down any remaining embers.

An Associated Press journalist at the scene saw two of the towers sustained severe damage in the blaze, while several others appeared to have light damage.

The complex, developed for an estimated 720 million US dollars by Aqaar, is home to 12 residential towers.

Two sustained severe damage to their exteriors, while others appeared to have light damage.

The cause for the blaze, which began on Monday night, is not immediately clear.

The state-run WAM news agency said Ajman's ruler, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, has visited the complex and praised firefighters' efforts to put out the fire. He also ordered authorities to accommodate those affected until they find housing, WAM reported.

The blaze comes less than three months after a massive fire raced up the exterior of the 63-storey The Address Downtown Dubai, one of Dubai's most prominent hotels. It is situated next to Dubai's biggest shopping centre and the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper.

Similar fires have struck other high-rises built since the turn of the century in Dubai and Sharjah, which sits between Dubai and Ajman.

Building and safety experts have attributed the spate of fires to a material commonly used to cover the buildings known as aluminium composite panel cladding. Some panels used in buildings in the Emirates contain a flammable core that can burn rapidly once ignited, allowing fires to spread quickly on buildings covered with the panels without sufficient fire breaks.

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