10 Foreign Workers Perish in Abu Dhabi Fire

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Ten foreign workers have died in a fire that hit a tire shop in Abu Dhabi, apparently trapping the laborers in a warehouse used illegally for accommodation, local media said Saturday.

Eight others were injured in the blaze that gutted the two-storey building in the Mussaffah district on Friday, Gulf News daily reported, saying that the makeshift hostel above the shop was originally a storage area.

Police said the victims were of different nationalities and that the owner of the building was arrested, the paper said.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

"The injured were given first aid by medics and then taken to hospital while police and firefighters began the grizzly task of recovering the 10 bodies," Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported.

Fires at warehouses in industrial zones are common in the United Arab Emirates and authorities across the Gulf nation continue to crack down on illegal accommodation of foreign laborers.

The UAE is home to millions of foreign workers, mostly from South Asian countries.

Earlier, hundreds of panicked residents fled one of the tallest towers in Dubai as a huge fire engulfed the skyscraper, causing extensive damage to its luxury flats.

The inferno gutted the upper part of 79-storey Torch tower, triggering an evacuation of nearby blocks in the Dubai Marina neighborhood, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.

Amateur footage posted online showed fire engulfing the upper floors of the tower -- home to hundreds of expatriates -- with debris falling onto the road as strong winds fanned the flames. 

Civil defense teams cleared the building, which at 336.1 meters (1,105 feet) is one of the world's tallest residential towers.

No casualties were reported but seven people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

A civil defense department statement said the fire swept across the tower's facade affecting 20 storeys.

Firefighters battled the blaze for more than two hours, before hundreds of residents of nearby towers were allowed to return to their apartments.

Dubai Marina is a popular expat neighborhood that has a high concentration of residential towers. It is also a major tourist attraction. 

Dubai, known for its skyline of hugely varied skyscrapers, has seen fires at towers in the past. 

In 2012, a huge blaze gutted the 34-storey Tamweel Tower in the nearby Jumeirah Lake Towers district. It was later revealed to have been caused by a cigarette butt thrown into a bin. 

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