Sharjah’s Fire-Hit Building Was Fitted With Banned Cladding

Abbco Tower, the 49-storey building that caught fire in Sharjah on Tuesday, was fitted with flammable Aluminum cladding that was banned in the emirate in 2016, according to Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, Director General of Sharjah Civil Defence.

The 2016 banning order states that any new building over 23 metres (the equivalent of seven floors) cannot use the cladding because it surpasses the reach of a fire engine’s ladder, but Abbco Tower was built in 2006.

Old buildings surpassing this height that have this cladding were in the process of having their cladding replaced with safer non-flammable materials.

While not responsible for the initial blaze, the cladding can lead to the rapid spread of flames.

The fire completely gutted the exteriors on one side of the building. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman, Gulf News

Colonel Al Naqbi said, “The use of aluminium cladding causes many risks. Insulating layers can ignite and the method of installing the cladding constitutes to a rapid spread of fire.”

An investigation is still underway to determine the cause of the fire, which is believed to have started from the 10th floor from a heat source.

Nine people received minor injuries of which seven were transferred to hospital.

All residents were safely evacuated and forensic teams conducted a sweep of the building on Wednesday to confirm that no-one had been left inside the building.


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