Seven injured in 48-storey fire in UAE Sharjah Tower

Sharjah authorities offered no immediate explanation, while safety experts blamed cladding

Seven people were reportedly injured after a fire engulfed a 48-storey high-rise tower in the United Arab Emirates, sending flames shooting into the night sky.

Firefighters, police, and curious onlookers surrounded the building after the fire broke out late on Tuesday in the city of Sharjah near Dubai.

Authorities offered no immediate explanation for the blaze.

The UAE, including skyscraper-studded Dubai, has suffered a spate of fires in its high-rises in recent years.

The reason, building and safety experts say, is the material used for the buildings’ sidings, called aluminum composite panel cladding.

While some types of cladding can be made with fire-resistant material, experts say those that have caught fire in the UAE, and elsewhere, were not designed to meet stricter safety standards and often were put on to buildings without any breaks to slow or halt a possible blaze.

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