Image Credit: Civil Defense

Dubai: Residents of Torch tower received a surprise gift on Monday when Dubai firefighters affixed “welcome back” notes on their apartment doors after ablaze enveloped their building earlier this month.

The kind gesture follows the mind-reeling experience of being evacuated when fire swept across the face of the 87-storey tower on August 4 — within moments, first responders from Dubai Civil Defence and emergency services were on scene.

Tenants were seized with disbelief given that the Torch Tower was on fire again only two-and-a-half years after an initial fire ravaged the top levels of the same building in February 2015.

Major General Rashid Al Matroushi, Director General of Dubai Civil Defence, ordered his firefighters to return to the tower to check the residents and to provide support with a note to welcome them back.

A team of firefighters headed by Lieutenant Colonel Ali Hassan Al Mutawa, Assistant General Commander for Smart Services at Dubai Civil Defence, visited the tower on Monday with hundreds of notes and put them on all doors of the 597 apartments.

The note said in Arabic and English, “We are pleased that you have safely returned”.

The team checked the damages in the flats and met residents who briefly told them about their losses.

The team also fielded queries from the returning tenants.

“It is a human gesture by Dubai to the residents. It is part of our job to spread happiness among residents in Dubai after our role in controlling the Torch Tower fire,” Lt Col Al Mutawa said.

Earlier last week, Dubai Police teams also visited the Torch Tower bearing flowers to show their emotional support for residents.

During the blaze, firefighters, rescue teams and Dubai Ambulance staff put their own lives on the line searching and inspecting apartments and evacuating 475 people in record time.

Rescued tenants were quickly whisked to three nearby hotels and were allowed to return to their flats on August 7 after the probe into the fire ended.

The cause of the fire has yet to be released.

The Dubai Civil Defence was first alerted about the fire at 12.45am and by 2.58am, firefighters had the fire under control.

Senior officials of the Dubai Civil Defence, Interior Ministry and Dubai Police visited the site to follow up on the operations.

At least three dozen cars in a makeshift sandy car park were showered with debris.

Some had caught fire, while other cars had smashed windows and dented panels from falling debris.

Quick facts

1. 87 floors in Torch Tower

2. 676 flats

3. 38 flats destroyed

4. 26th floor is where the fire started

5. 64 floors affected

6. Minor damage at 83rd and 84th floors

Source: Dubai Civil Defence

First fire

  • On February 21, 2015, a fire ripped through the Torch Tower on the north side.
  • The fire started on the 52nd floor and spread to the floors above.
  • There were no deaths or serious injuries reported.
  • At the time, a resident of the building told Gulf News that the tower had long been plagued by problems, such as false fire alarms going off on an almost daily basis.
  • The tower, situated in the upscale Marina district, has long been popular with well-heeled expats. Rent for one-bedroom apartment is around Dh90,000 per year.