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Torch Tower owners deny claims alarms were broken.

The company in charge of fire-ravaged Dubai tower The Torch has refuted claims that there had been ongoing problems with the fire alarm system when the blaze broke out on Saturday.

Several Torch residents were quoted in the media as saying there had been several false alarms in the months leading up to the fire, prompting them to initially assume they were in little danger when the alarm went off in the early hours of Saturday morning.

One unnamed resident even told CW's sister publication Arabian Business that alarms on some of the building's floors had been disabled to prevent them from going off unnecessarily.

But in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Kingfield, the property management company in charge of The Torch, sought to refute some of the claims.

It said: "To clarify some inconsistencies being reported please note the following information:

The building has a fully addressable fire alarm system and residents cannot manually disable fire alarms to prevent them from going off. If a resident removes a smoke detector in his/her apartment the system identifies the concerned device and alerts the main fire alarm panel as a fault so maintenance [teams] can investigate.

The fire alarm was fully functional and operating correctly at the time of the fire. Break glasses are located on every floor and operate to compliment the sensors in the building and provide residents with the opportunity to manually activate the system and alert all residents at any time.

The Torch consists of 676 residential apartments and 6 retail units. The system (and all life safety systems) is maintained on a regular schedule by specialist licensed contractors. All units have 24-hour fire monitoring sensors (smoke & heat detectors) connected to a central fire alarm panel. Sensors in kitchens commonly alarm due to cooking habits of residents however these actual activations are commonly referred to as "false Alarms" by residents as they are quickly investigated and verified by building management without the need to evacuate the building. These activations are reset and the system is restored to normal operation."

Kingfield added: "There is no middle ground on life safety and the system is designed to activate when environmental parameters exceed pre-determined set points. The Torch Tower was built strictly to code and all approvals from relevant authorities were obtained prior to the completion certificate being issued by the authorities."

Building insurers Omain Insurance stated on Monday that 101 of the 676 apartments in The Torch remained inaccessible to residents, according to the building's insurer.

In its statement, Kingfield confirmed most of the damage was to the exterior of the building, and that the rope access team will start removing the remaining debris from the facade as soon as required permissions have been obtained from the relevant local authorities.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined and is to be addressed by the Dubai Civil Defense, Kingfield added.


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Publication:Construction Week
Date:Feb 25, 2015
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