Police forensics teams have taken samples from a Dubai Marina tower after a major blaze at the weekend.
Officers were at Marina Diamond 2 on Sunday as the investigation into the blaze continued, which led to hundreds of tenants fleeing the building at 4am on Saturday.
The fire began on the 9th floor and spread to the top 15th floor. Crews had extinguished the flames by about 5.30am and continued to dampen the building for several hours.
Residents of the lower undamaged floors have been allowed to return to their apartments, while 40 to 60 people have been housed in the Tryp by Wyndham hotel in nearby Barsha Heights.
Junaid Siddiqi, building facilities manager for Marina Diamond 2, said the extent of the damage would be clearer once the authorities had finished collecting evidence.
“Around 40 to 60 people have been rehoused," he told The National.
“They were moved to a hotel on Saturday while the investigation gets under way."
Most of the block's 260 apartments escaped serious damage, with just five or six affected by serious fire, smoke and water damage, he said.
“Once the report has been completed, we can then arrange for the repair work to begin, but it will take some time,” Mr Siddiqi added.
Fire ripped through cladding on the outer shell of the 60-metre building in Al Sayorah Street.
Roads were closed to traffic to allow emergency services to contain the fire.
On Sunday, burnt debris could be seen scattered across cars and a car park, while the building was charred on at least eight floors on the marina side.
Forensic investigations to determine the fire’s cause are under way, in a joint effort by the Dubai Police forensics, science and criminology department, Dubai Civil Defence and the municipality.
'Fire alarms did go off'
Several residents who spoke to The National said they did not hear any fire alarms and first awoke when neighbours banged on their doors.
Mr Siddiqi insisted that the alarms did go off. Dubai Civil Defence said it was looking into the issue.
“All of the fire alarms were activated at the time – the damage is mainly on the balcony areas,” Mr Siddiqi said.
“The fire sprinklers were activated, so there is some water damage as a result of that also.
“Everything in those areas is wet, with only about five or six apartments seriously affected by the fire itself.
“The civil defence fire pumps were spraying water for around two hours, so it got into the corridors and lift system.
“The top three floors were most critically affected,” he said.
“We will get people back into their homes as soon as possible, but we must wait for all the authorities to first do their work.
“People could move back into the apartments that were not damaged quite quickly.”
Flammable building materials in focus
Cladding has been cited as a contributing factor in several fires in recent years across the country, leading to changes in construction material regulations.
A series of residential fires in Dubai and Sharjah have prompted investigations by the government into the use of potentially flammable cladding. Last year, authorities in Sharjah said they were investigating the use of flammable cladding, which was banned from use in new buildings in 2017.
That came after a major fire in Sharjah's Abbco Tower in May 2020.
An electrical fault in a first-floor apartment sparked a blaze that tore through Zen Tower in Dubai Marina, in May 2018.
A Dh20 million ($5.4m) refurbishment followed, with residents allowed back into their apartments almost two years later.