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Major fire engulfs Dubai Torch Tower skyscraper

A blaze has broken out in Dubai's 86-story Torch Tower, one of the world's tallest residential buildings. Authorities have said the building was successfully evacuated and that no injuries had been reported.

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Major fire engulfs Dubai Torch Tower skyscraper

Flames shot up the side of Dubai's Torch Tower in the early hours of Friday morning, sending plumes of smoke into the air and debris crashing to the ground.

Fire services were called onto the scene to fight the blaze and evacuate the building in Dubai's popular Marina neighborhood. Authorities said they had "successfully evacuated" the 352-meter-high building and that no injuries had been reported.

Read more: Dubai's bid to cash in on climate change

The Dubai government's media office tweeted after the blaze: "Fire at the Torch Tower has been brought under control. Cooling operations are underway."

A spokesperson for Dubai police told local media that the fire broke out on the ninth floor of the building at around 1 am local time (2100 UTC). Video footage uploaded onto social media showed the flames spreading up the side of the building, engulfing what is believed to be around 40 stories into flames.

Fires have engulfed several high-rise towers in the United Arab Emirates, including a 63-story luxury Dubai hotel on New Year's Eve in 2016. Even the Torch Tower, one of the world's tallest buildings, had previously caught fire back in 2015, prompting hundreds of residents to evacuate. There were no casualties reported in that blaze either.

Safety experts have warned that the high rate of fires is likely due to a popular type of cladding used on buildings, which can be highly flammable.

After at least 80 people were killed in a  deadly tower block fire in London in June, the British government called for more thorough testing on cladding systems and ordered that towers believed to be a fire risk be completely evacuated.

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Dubai: Skyscraper fire leaves city covered in smoke

dm/gsw (AP, Reuters)

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