High-Rise Building Catches Fire in United Arab Emirates

A high-rise tower caught fire Tuesday in the United Arab Emirates and authorities said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the blaze.

The sides of the 48-floor Abbco Tower in Sharjah saw flames shoot up them. The city neighbors Dubai.

Firefighters and police surrounded the tower, as did curious onlookers.

Authorities offered no immediate cause for the blaze.

The UAE, including skyscraper-studded Dubai, has suffered a spate of fires in its high-rises in recent years.

The reason for the blazes, building and safety experts say, is the material used for the buildings’ sidings, called aluminum composite panel cladding.

While some types of cladding can be made with fire-resistant material, experts say those that have caught fire in the UAE and elsewhere weren’t designed to meet stricter safety standards and often were put onto buildings without any breaks to slow or halt a possible blaze.

Photograph: Firefighters battle a blaze burning on the side of a high-rise building in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Photo credit: AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

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