Fire in Dubai apartment building kills 16 people: Local media

Investigation launched, but authorities say violations of safety and security regulations the cause.

People, including residents, stand outside a residential building that was devastated by a fire
People outside a residential building that was devastated by a fire in Dubai [Reuters]

A fire has swept through an apartment building in an older neighbourhood of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, killing at least 16 people and injuring nine, local media report.

The fire broke out on Saturday on the fourth floor of the building in the Al-Ras neighbourhood.

The Dubai Civil Defence Force said preliminary investigations showed the fire was caused by “a lack of compliance with building safety and security requirements”, according to a statement quoted by The National, a UAE-based newspaper.

“Relevant authorities are conducting a comprehensive investigation to provide a detailed report on the causes of the accident,” the statement said.

Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, has a population of about 3.3 million, of whom nearly 90 percent are foreigners.

The nationality of the victims has not been released.

Fires have broken out in skyscrapers in Dubai and other fast-growing cities in the UAE in recent years. In 2017, a large fire broke out at a high-rise under construction near the city’s largest shopping mall. Two years earlier on New Year’s Eve, a fire engulfed a five-star hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve with several people injured.

Building and safety experts have said the culprit is a popular type of aluminium exterior cladding with a plastic core that can be highly flammable.

Authorities announced in 2017 the adoption of stricter building regulations to minimise the risk of fire, including the use of fire-resistant cladding.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies