The lighting installation at The Address in Dubai is now being blamed for the spectacular New Year’s Eve fire, say the police.
A short circuit on the cabling to a projector light fitting on the 14th floor has been identified as the source of the blaze at the 63-storey luxury hotel.
Fire experts say the fact that only one of the four light fittings on that projecting ledge had melted cables, coupled with witness statements, pinpoints the cause of the disaster.
The news will send shock waves though the lighting and installation industries in the region and will inevitably lead to calls for better standards of equipment, training and tighter specifications.
The pinpointing of the source of the fire to the external lighting explains the mystery of why the internal alarms – which are triggered by smoke – did not sound immediately. Hotel guests told police that they didn’t hear the alarm and only evacuated the building when they were instructed to by hotel staff.
Dubai Police chief Maj Gen Khamis Al Muzeina told the National newspaper yesterday: ‘The results of the investigation come after inspecting the area where the fire started, collecting and testing evidence as well as listening to witnesses’ testimonies.’
Dubai Police forensic scientist Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed told the press that the lighting cables run alongside cabling to other services on the ledges. He believes the fire began between apartments 1401 and 1504, in an area that contained a small, 1.1-metre-wide pathway and a ledge.
‘Experts checked apartment 1504 and came to the conclusion that the fire spread to the unit from the side of the window, which looks onto the pathway and the ledge, and not from inside the apartment,’ Mr Ahmed said.
Fifteen people were injured, while one person suffered a heart attack while being removed from the building.
Picture: Richard Schneider
- Fire standards, emergency lighting and the lessons of The Address fire will be discussed at a special session at the LuxLive Middle East exhibition and conference at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Wednesday 13 April and Thursday 14 April 2016. Entry is free if you register here.