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World's tallest residential building catches fire in Dubai

Opened in 2011 and standing 1,100 feet tall, the Marina Torch tower in Dubai is the world's tallest residential building

By Doug G. Ware

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The tallest residential building on Earth -- The Marina Torch in the United Arab Emirates -- lived up to its namesake Friday when it caught fire and forced thousands of tenants to flee the building.

The fire started around the 50th floor of the high-rise and subsequently engulfed adjacent floors. Photos and videos posted to social channels showed large flames that were fanned by winds in the area.

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Flaming debris fell to the ground below and some 10 firetrucks responded to the scene.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but witnesses described seeing molten glass and masonry falling away from the tower. It also wasn't clear whether anyone was injured.

The Torch, opened in 2011, is the tallest apartment building in the world. It reaches 1,105 feet into the sky and consists of 79 floors, housing thousands of residents.

The scene of massive flames licking the tower's exterior is somewhat reminiscent of two similar fires that broke out at the MGM Grand Hotel and the Las Vegas Hilton more than 30 years ago.

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Ultimately blamed on faulty wiring, the MGM fire killed 85 people on Nov. 21, 1980 and eight died at the Hilton on Feb. 10, 1981. The Hilton fire was started by an arsonist. Both hotels still stand today, although the old MGM Grand is now Bally's Las Vegas.

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