Dubai: Repair work for the fire-damaged Torch tower in Dubai Marina is expected to start soon following completion of necessary documents, an official said.

A massive fire engulfed the 86-storey tower on February 21.

At that time, 101 of the 676 apartments were declared inaccessible.

Balaji Ganapathy, Senior Vice President — Head of Non-Life Claims at Oman Insurance Company with which the tower is insured, said a consultant has been appointed to prepare a detailed damage assessment report “following which the repair contract shall be put out to tender.”

“The entire repair process is being pursued aggressively and will be completed in as short a time as possible. The execution of repairs shall of course be undertaken on the instruction of the building owners and their authorised representatives,” Ganapathy told Gulf News.

Currently, of the 101 apartments that were initially identified as inaccessible by Dubai Municipality and Oman Insurance’s loss adjusters, 79 apartments were declared unfit for habitation.

The remaining 22 apartments sustained only minor damages and can be fixed immediately for reoccupation “without any health or safety implication”.

Two series of apartments were affected, each bordering a corner balcony area from the 51st floor to the 81st floor and from the 30th floor to the 59th floor.

“To our knowledge, two apartments were not occupied at the time in question indicating an occupancy factor, in terms of affected properties of 97.5 per cent,” Ganapathy said.

A resident said life at the tower has achieved some sense of normality although the memory of the fire is still visible on the walls.

“It still smells a bit in the corridors from the fire. You can still see the water damage where the firemen hit the walls with the hoses. They have started to cut all the cladding now. The burnt cladding is gone. I wouldn’t say it’s repair work, but containing damage work,” the resident told Gulf News on condition of anonymity.

Another resident, Tarek, said everything is normal so far because he lives on the lower floors.

Other problems need fixing such as the lift servicing the topmost floors, the British expatriate said. The tower’s facilities are still closed more than a month after the fire, giving a generally “gloomy atmosphere.”

“To be honest, it’s a continuous stream of removals wagon outside. A lot of apartments are now empty.”