One dead in Dubai skyscraper fire

Several workers are trapped by the flames engulfing building under construction.

    Some workers were seen abseiling down
    the building in the Jumeirah Islands [AFP]

    Several dozen workers were seen on the upper, unfinished floors of the building, trapped by the flames.
     
    Black smoke was also seen billowing from the upper floors of the building.
     
    Witnesses said they saw a man fall from one of the 37-storey building's upper floors, and hospital officials said that three hospitalised labourers were in serious condition.
     
    There were no official reports of deaths, as police and fire officials refused to comment.
     
    Precarious perch
     
    One man scaling the outside of the building got stuck on a narrow ledge on the 13th floor and was rescued after balancing on his precarious perch for more than an hour.
     
    Rescuers eventually smashed windows to pull him to safety.
     

    Buildings, golf courses and shopping malls
    are coming up all over Dubai [AFP]

    Trapped workers waved towels at hovering helicopters or climbed toward the roof on scaffolding.

    Rescuers could be seen carrying injured workers on stretchers and putting them in ambulances.
     
    Witnesses on the street below said the fire broke out around 12:30 local time (07:30 GMT) and burned for at least an hour before fire trucks arrived on the scene.
     
    Attempts by Dubai's emergency services to extinguish the fire and rescue the trapped workers appeared disorganised.
     
    Trapped workers
     
    A rescue helicopter was unable to land on the building's roof, and firefighters on the ground took hours to start evacuating workers out from a 10th story window, even after most of the smoke had dissipated.
     
    It was not immediately clear why those trapped near the roof were unable to make their way to lower floors.
     
    A hospital official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said up to 25 labourers from India, Pakistan and China were being treated for various degrees of smoke inhalation.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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