Princess Tower residents forced to take the stairs

A routine fire safety drill has created much havoc in the world’s tallest residential building in Dubai, causing water leakage that has impacted the working of the elevators.

For the past week or so, some residents of the 107-storey Princess Towers have been forced to take the stairs after all the elevators broke down.

When Emirates 24|7 contacted property developer Tameer Holdings, it assured that work was in progress at the prestigious Dubai Marina property.

The developer confirmed that the event had caused much confusion. “On June 10, Princess Tower was subjected to an unfortunate water-based incident resulting from a periodic, routine fire-fighting system test performed on the upper floors,” a Tameer spokesperson confirmed to Emirates 24|7.

During the fire drill, the Tameer spokesperson explained, a fire hose reel came loose, and subsequently the elevator lobby was water-looged, leading to the breakdown.

“This water found its way into the elevator shaft, causing the safety protection systems in the said elevators to engage.”

Once all the elevators stopped working, residents were forced to take the stairs.

The Princess Tower is a 107-storey, 413m-tall residential skyscraper that houses 763 units, 957 underground parking bays and eight retail outlets. The tower has six basement parking levels, which means that, technically, the building comprises of 107 storeys: 6 basement + 1 ground + 100 floors.

The uses eight elevators – four express lifts to the 50th floor and above, and four serving the lower 50 floors. It is the current world record holder of the tallest residential building, and officially entered Guinness World Records as “Tallest Residential Building” in May 2012.

While the latest technical glitch is causing some residents to huff-and-puff their way up and down the tall tower, the developer says it is doing all it can to minimise inconvenience.

“We regret the inconvenience to the occupants caused by this is undesirable incident, however, kindly rest assured all stakeholders are working to minimise any further impact,” the spokesperson noted.

“Within 11 hours [of the incident], two high-rise elevators were operational again, ferrying occupants to their requested floors, assisted by in-cabin-attendants,” the spokesperson confirmed.

Some reports have suggested that elevators started functioning up to the 50th floor, and residents living on the floors above had to phone the reception to request for the elevator.

“As of 96 hours [after the incident], two low-rise, two high-rise and service elevators are fully operational again.

“The balance elevators are coming back on line progressively, as expeditious as the teams of technicians can achieve by working in shifts around the clock.”

They added that “immediate action by the building management, flash-mobilization of the elevators supplier’s technicians, the main contractor personnel and Tameer’s staff succeeded in returning two low-rise elevators into service within two hours of the event”.

According to media reports, the building association had sent an e-mail to the residents, asking them to ensure they didn’t cause any water leaks in their houses because this could further impact the situation.