Fire engulfs residential Abbco Tower skyscraper in UAE

A fire has engulfed a high-rise residential tower in Sharjah, one of the largest cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Footage shows debris from the blaze falling from the 48-floor Abbco Tower onto the ground below. The city neighbours Dubai.

Firefighters and police surrounded the tower, as did curious onlookers.

Authorities offered no immediate cause for the blaze.

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

The reason for the blazes, building and safety experts say, is the material used for the buildings’ sidings, called aluminium 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 weren’t designed to meet stricter safety standards and often were put onto buildings without any breaks to slow or halt a possible blaze.

It remains unclear if there have been casualties.