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Blaze at Dubai Skyscraper The Torch Extinguished; Hundreds Evacuated

There were no injuries immediately reported after the tall apartment tower caught fire early Saturday.

A huge fire that engulfed the higher floors of a 79-story apartment tower in Dubai was extinguished and hundreds of residents evacuated on Saturday morning, police said.

Nobody died in the "massive" wind-fueled blaze that engulfed between 10 and 15 floors of the more than 1,100-foot-tall tower, named The Torch, witnesses and officials said. The fire broke out around 2 a.m. local time.

"I saw the fire falling from the window," Mehdi Ansari, who lives on the 27th floor and escaped with his wife and baby after the alarms sounded, told NBC News.

He said the fire appeared to begin around the 52nd floor, and it grew to cover between 10 and 15 more floors surrounding it. Winds were blowing the flames down the building he said.

Ansari said the escape from the burning tower, located in the marina district, was orderly.

"The firefighters did well. They were pretty quick, they organized people, got them out, gave them water and found others," he said.

The fire appeared to have been the result of an accident and a deliberate criminal act was not suspected to be the cause, General Khamis Mattar said in comments carried by state news agency WAM.

As daylight broke, residents waiting across the street to be allowed back home were able to see the extent of the blaze: external cladding on the corner of more than two dozen stories from roughly the 50th floor to the top was mangled and charred black.

Cleanup crews dressed in orange uniforms swept up pieces of shattered glass and other debris covering the street outside the building. Tram service in the Marina was disrupted for several hours because of debris on the tracks, but it was restored by mid-morning.


— Phil Helsel and Charlene Gubash

Material from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.