Torch building in flames again

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Fire has ripped through the Torch building in Dubai for the second time in two years – highlighting the dangers of leaving cheap inflammable cladding in place, even when residents are aware of its dangers.

Just weeks after 80 or more people died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London, the ill-name Torch building – the 75-storey, fifth-highest residential building in the world – was once again consumed by fire racing up the exterior panels on the side of the building.

The original Torch fire in February 20125 alerted the world to the dangers of inflammable aluminium and plastic ‘sandwich’ cladding.  It was followed by the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne and the fatal Grenfell blaze in London.

There are believed to be hundreds if not thousands of apartment blocks in Australia fitted with the same dangerous materials.

The owners and developers of the Lacross building in Melbourne are locked in a legal battle over who pays for remediation of the problem there (although Melbourne City has rulled the building is still habitable).

In London, other buildings with flammable cladding have been evacuated as a precaution by local authorities.

In NSW, the government has announced measures to ban the importation of cheap cladding, prevent its installation on buildings and require apartment owners in apartment buildings to identify and remove cladding, probably at their own expense.

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