A massive fire ripped through a residential building in Dubai's Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) early on Sunday morning, displacing hundreds.
The fire at Tamweel Tower broke out around 1:30am and raged through the night before it was extinguished by 7am on Sunday.
Residents are now being allowed in up to the 18th floor to collect only small items such as passports.
A temporary desk has been opened at neighbouring Almas Tower, where homeless residents can get accommodation vouchers, although one tenant told Yahoo! Maktoob he had heard that they had already run out.
Ryan Luis, a resident on the 14th floor at the tower, said that he was working on his laptop when he heard a cracking sound and thought something was wrong with the speakers, but the bang continued even after he turn off the speakers.
“I came to my window, opened the curtains and saw flames and sparks. I ran out of the apartment and when I was down I could hear gas cylinders explode and I saw the line of fire rapidly moving down the building after it caught the tower’s top arch,” he added.
Civil Defence confirmed there were no injuries in the blaze.
Nidhi Jha, a marketing manager in Dubai, was driving down Sheikh Zayed Road when she noticed a commotion in the JLT area, prompting her to stop across the road at the Dubai Marina to see what was happening.
"The fire appeared to be at the top of the tower on the right side of the building, but quickly spread as building debris fell and hit lower floors. Some cars parked below even caught fire," she said.
Police and civil defence officials were on the scene 15 minutes after the fire started and were able to evacuate residents almost immediately, Jha said.
"Firefighters went up the neighbouring towers and hosed down the fire from there," she added.
Other witnesses took to social networking site Twitter to report the fire as it spread across the building.
"Cant believe after 1st seeing flames@2am that 4hrs later it would have got so out of control&engulfed a huge part of the building #jlt #fire," Sarah Dee, who tweets at @sarahdee062, said.
Luis said that smoke could still be seen coming out of the building at around 6:30 am. He still doesn’t know if his apartment has been gutted or even if he can safely go in to check.
“I still have 3 months on my apartment’s contract but I really can’t see myself living there anymore,” he said.
Tamweel for real estate finance has issued a statement on Sunday that it remains fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the tower’s residents.
“Our staff are on site and have provided transportation and hotel accommodation to any resident who requires such assistance,” the statement read.
“We are working closely with Civil Defence officials, and will continue to provide such updates as and when appropriate.”
Luis told Yahoo! Maktoob that he was offered accommodation at the Bonnington's hotel for the time being, which is also located in Jumeirah Lake Towers.
The Jumeirah Lake Towers district is a popular residential area consisting of 78 towers housing an estimated 60,000 residents.