Latest: Dubai's 86-storey torch tower engulfed by flames again

Update 6am: A fire broke out after midnight in one of the world's tallest residential towers in Dubai, engulfing part of the skyscraper and sending chunks of debris plummeting below.

More than 40 floors of the 86-storey Torch Tower were burning on one side of the building, an Associated Press journalist near the scene of the blaze said.

Building residents could be seen on the street outside crying with several saying the fire broke out just after 1am on Friday local time.

Dubai's civil defence announced at about 3.30am that firefighters had brought the blaze under control and that no injuries had been reported.

"Cooling operations are underway," Dubai's official media office said on Twitter.

It was the second time in less than three years that the 335 metres high tower has been ravaged by fire.

The tower, located in the popular waterfront Marina district, caught fire in February 2015, but there were no major casualties reported in that blaze.

Early on Friday, authorities shared a photo of the charred and blackened tower but it was no longer visibly in flames. Officials said they were now working on providing shelter for those affected.

Dubai police cordoned off several streets around the building, keeping people away from the fire's falling debris.

Several skyscrapers in the United Arab Emirates have caught fire in recent years, including a towering inferno that engulfed a 63-storey luxury hotel in Dubai on New Year's Eve in 2016.

In that blaze, as in others in Dubai in recent years, residents escaped without major injury.

Smoke and fire rise from a high rise building at Marina district in Dubai. Photo: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
Smoke and fire rise from a high rise building at Marina district in Dubai. Photo: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

Earlier this year, Dubai passed new fire safety rules requiring buildings with quick-burning side panelling to replace it with more fire-resistant siding.

Authorities have previously acknowledged that at least 30,000 buildings across the UAE have cladding or panelling that safety experts have said accelerates the rapid spread of fires.

A devastating tower fire in London in June killed at least 80 people and prompted Britain to order more thorough testing on the cladding systems of its towers.

AP

Earlier: Fire is engulfing a high-rise residential tower in Dubai in the middle of the night, sending plumes of smoke into the air and debris falling below.

Dubai's police say firefighters are on the scene and that no injuries have been reported so far in the blaze at the Torch Tower, located in the popular Marina neighbourhood.

The Torch Tower is one of the world's tallest residential towers reaching more than 80 storeys high. It caught fire in early 2015 with no major casualties reported in that blaze.

Fires have affected several skyscrapers in the United Arab Emirates.

Smoke and fire rise from a high rise building at Marina district in Dubai. Picture: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
Smoke and fire rise from a high rise building at Marina district in Dubai. Picture: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

They include a towering inferno that engulfed a 63-storey luxury hotel in Dubai on New Year's Eve in 2016.

Building and safety experts have cited a popular type of cladding covering the buildings that can be highly flammable.

A devastating tower fire in London in June killed at least 80 people and prompted Britain to order more thorough testing on the cladding systems of its towers.

An Associated Press journalist near the scene of early Friday's blaze said more than 40 floors of the high-rise tower appeared to be engulfed in flames on one side of the building.

Residents of the building could be seen crying with several saying the fire broke just after 1am local time.

Dubai police cordoned off the area around the building, keeping people about a block away from the fire and the falling debris.

"Dubai Civil Defense has successfully evacuated the Torch Tower and is working to bring the fire under control," Dubai's official media office said in a tweet.

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