Fire engulfs 86-storey Dubai skyscraper

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A huge fire has broken out at Dubai's Torch tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world.

Burning debris can be seen falling from the Torch Tower in videos uploaded to social media by shocked onlookers.

It was not yet clear what started the fire but Dubai's civil defence authorities said firefighting squads were able to extinguish the blaze around 4am local time and were cooling the building.

The tragic June inferno in London prompted Britain to order more thorough testing on the cladding systems of its towers.

Hundreds of people, many of whom were evacuated residents, were in the street while crews worked on the scene.

The Emirate changed its building regulations as a result, making illegal the external cladding that is thought to exacerbate fires. "It started on the 67th floor, that's what we were told".

Last month Darren Baird, a former senior fire safety officer at Greater Manchester service and the managing director of Total Fire Services, told The Guardian that nearly all residential buildings in the United Kingdom have a "stay put" policy like those in Grenfell Tower, to avoid clogging up the stairwells.

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Authorities indicated that they would do a thorough investigation of which materials are being used to construct tall buildings in order to evaluate the safety of residential skyscrapers and prevent another large scale fire from erupting.

The building known as the Torch Tower was evacuated safely and there were no immediate reports of injuries, the government of Dubai's media office said on Twitter.

Dubai fire officials say no one was hurt and the flames were under control in just two hours. This is incidentally the second blaze to hit the skyscraper in as many years.

This is the latest in a series of fires in tall structures in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf's tourism and business hub, over the past three years.

That fire, and other recent blazes in the city, spread quickly because of external cladding, according to fire engineering consultancy Tenable Dubai. The title has since been usurped by buildings in Dubai and NY.

View of the Marina Torch tower at center.

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