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19 April 2024

JLT's Tamweel Tower fire: Residents recount waking up to nightmare

By Mily Chakrabarty & Majorie Van Leijen

A massive fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning (around 1am) on the roof of the Tamweel Tower (Cluster U) in Dubai's Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT).

Afsana, resident of 32nd floor, Tamweel Tower:

"The fire erupted just two floors above our apartment.
"There are four apartments on our floor and two of them were affected, we were on the safe side. The fire then spread downwards and many other floors were affected.
"Downstairs we saw a couple of cars on fire, affected by the falling debris.
"We took our passports, wallets and mobile phones and started going down the steps.
"My legs are still hurting from the long descent. We stayed out all night and have only just found out about the shelter offered by the building managment."

A Canadian-Lebanese resident is watching the firemen at work. He does not live in the building himself, but his brother lives on the sixth floor and he is on his honeymoon. "He just got married and bought this apartment two weeks ago. The furniture is brand new. I have not told him about the fire, but he is coming back tomorrow."

JJ (name changed), Tamweel Tower, 20th floor

Too shocked and staring up at the smoking building in disbelief he says: "I can see my apartment from here. It is the one on the corner with smoke coming out."

He got out of his apartment just in time last night.

"When the fire alarm went off there was already smoke in my apartment. My neighbour heard his window explode right after he had left his apartment. We did not take any of our belongings. When you are in such situation all you want to do is get out."

MK (name changed), Indian resident, 15th floor

The fire was on the outside of the building at first, but then debris reached our balconies and the fire started spreading inside the building too.

Our windows burst and the fire entered our living room. The curtains and the sofa were on fire. I do not know what is left of our apartment, but luckily, we got out safely.


"The blaze is not so much visible on the outside. But the flats seem to be burning right now," a JLT resident told Emirates 24|7.

Residents of the buildings could be seen huddled outside on the streets.

Some families who had managed to take their cars away from the building to a safe distance, were seen huddled inside their cars along with children, neighbours and elderly people, watching the fire slowly engulf the entire building.

Earlier, the fire alarms went up and woke the residents of the building and those in the neighbouring buildings.

Not only were the residents of the Tamweel tower evacuated, but the residents of the adjoining two Al Seef towers (of the same cluster) also evacuated as the blaze spread from top to the floors below.

The continuous ringing of fire alarms also woke up residents in the buildings of the nearby clusters.

An eyewitness told Emirates 24|7: "I stay four buildings away from Tamweel tower but the screeching alarm woke up me. When I looked out, I saw the fire engines and police patrol cars and then saw the rooftop on fire. It was a terrifying sight to behold."

Another eye witness told the website that huge slabs of concrete that fell off from the roof actually led to the spread the fire to different floors. Some pieces landed on the balconeys and spread the fire.

"The falling pieces of concrete fell on the ground below. A few of them fell on cars parked on the ground floor. The firefighters were hard placed to put them out but the falling concrete engandered their lives as well. I saw a couple of cars being gutted. "

In the morning around 6am, the apartments facing the Golf course were ablaze, while the other sides of the building seemed to be in the dark.

A resident who was evacuated at night took to social network and said: "Around 7 and it [fire] still wasnt doused out completely, think 10 or11th onward upward is completely destroyed."

Residents continued to be literally out on the streets as the civic officials kept the concerned residents out of harm's way.

Entry to certain sections of the community is restricted as of Sunday morning and police patrol cars were seen at every entrance of JLT, manning the traffic going towards the Tamweel tower.

Twitter update: @DubaiPoliceHQ A fire broke out in Tamweel Tower and the Civil Defense and police rushed to the location of the fire where it has been controlled.

@PetsInTheCityAE @TheJLTCommunity We'd like to offer to look after any displaced pets affected from todays #jltfire #jlt @UAENews TEL: 44580091 CLUSTER D

Shalu Chandran@Shaluc Entry into #JLT frm Shk Zayed Rd is shut while exiting is painfully slow. The Metro cld be ur best choice!
p> Ali@jassim Great to see the community showing solidarity for the victims of the #jlt fire hope the spirit prevails for other worthy causes as well

Images courtesy: Emirates 24|7 reader