Fire broke out Sunday in a building under construction on Dubai’s iconic, palm-shaped resort island, sending clouds of smoke over beachfront neighborhoods. Three people were injured.
The fire started in the basement of an unfinished eight-story building amid a cluster of apartment towers on the trunk of the manmade Palm Jumeirah island.
Hundreds of laborers were evacuated, and work halted on building sites across the island, where newly built luxury mansions began opening to residents this year.
The Palm Jumeirah is part of a $14 billion plan to build several manmade islands in what has been billed the world’s largest land-reclamation project, involving the hauling of millions of tons of Gulf sand and quarried rock.
About 14,000 laborers work on the 12-mile-square island group, building an offshore neighborhood that will house more than 100,000 residents and workers when finished by 2011.
Dubai’s government expects the Palm Jumeirah to become a signature tourist attraction, bringing in as many as 20,000 visitors daily.
The island’s trunk section, 17 “fronds” and outer crescent are studded with thousands of houses, apartments and luxury hotels, most of which are still under construction. Britons and other Europeans have bought a large portion of the homes as vacation properties.