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25 May 2024

Dubai Marina Torch tower fire: 101 apartments inaccessible

Oman Insurance Company has mobilised a team to assess the damages. (Bindu Rai)

By Bindu Rai

Over 100 apartments continue to remain inaccessible following The Torch tower blaze that ripped through one of the world’s tallest residential buildings early Saturday morning.

As residents returned Sunday following the handover by Dubai Civil Defence, Tim Crowe, Kingfield Owner Association Manager for the Torch, told Emirates 24|7 the priority remained rehabilitating all tenants and ensuring a smooth transition as the designated loss adjuster worked on damage estimate.

In a statement, Oman Insurance Company announced in its capacity as the insurer of the Torch, Dubai Marina, that it had mobilised a team to assess the damages.

“When we heard the news, Oman Insurance’s team moved immediately. A loss adjuster was assigned and, as soon as Saturday, alternative accommodation was arranged to support the families in distress,” said CEO Patrick Choffel.

Under the ‘Emergency Accommodation’ provision, the Gloria hotel, Media One hotel and the Marriott hotel have been contracted to provide the affected residents and owners a place to stay up to seven days from the date of the fire.

After seven days, owners and residents who are not still allowed to occupy their flat for safety reasons will need to find alternative accommodation and arrange it by themselves.

OIC has confirmed out of the 676 apartments units, 101 are still not accessible and the affected owners and tenants can avail the alternate accommodation provided.

The company further stated it has removed the standard 24h deductible and extended the support to the occupants to make sure that owners and tenants impacted by the fire will not presently incur any cost for the emergency accommodation.

Speaking further about the transition for the tenants back into The Torch tower, Crowe further said: “As of Sunday, all residents had been moved out of the 97th floor of the neighbouring Princess Tower and had either been able to move back into their homes or been found alternate accommodations.”

He continued: “Meanwhile, one of the express elevators to the higher floors is now functioning. The building management is handling the maintenance work that is required to put everything back in order.”

Addressing the issue of the fire alarms that have been set off in the past two days, scaring several residents, Crowe further added: “There is a lot of maintenance work that is pending and we are working against the clock to ensure residents have a safe transition back into their homes.

“The fire alarms testing, the amount of water that was used to douse the blaze, are a few issues that will take a few days to set right.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Meanwhile, as residents pick up the pieces of their lives and return to the Torch, several have voiced concerns about moving into the building, while others are grateful for just being alive.

In her blog, The Torch resident Shehzeen Rehman wrote that even as she heard the fire alarms ringing, she only realised the gravity of the situation when she heard the fire engines below her home.

Now days later, the resident writes you need to leave as soon as you hear the fire alarm, adding: “I smelt smoke [only] when I exited my apartment. And while I thought it was very close to mine, it was actually about 25+ floors above.

“There was a massive fire raging in my building for possibly 20 mins before I left my apartment and I had no clue.”

She added she is now maintaining an emergency bag to escape quickly in such situations, continuing: “In our building the alarm sounded very late so those exiting from the top floors actually had to escape through lots of smoke, which is obviously very dangerous. Timing is crucial.”