Fire breaks out in Istanbul high-rise
Hürriyet photoA fire broke out in a high-rise building in Istanbul today but officials said hundreds of people were quickly evacuated and no one was hurt, the Associated Press reported.
Black smoke rose from the 42-story Polat Towers that is partly residential and partly occupied by shops and businesses until firefighters brought it under control. Smoke covered the sky.
State-run TRT television said the fire, fanned by winds, burned through the building’s external wall insulation.
Mustafa Sarıgül, the mayor for the district of Şişli, where the building is located, said the inside of the building was not affected.
"The building’s fire-extinguishing system automatically activated," Sarigul said. "Otherwise we could have faced a huge disaster."
'Smart building prevented disaster,' building owner says
The "smart" features of the Polat Tower prevented a disaster, according to the building's owner.
Adnan Polat said the building had internal mechanisms that reacted to such disasters, thereby stopping the flames from spreading to the interior of the structure, daily Hürriyet reported on its website.
"Natural gas and elevators automatically stop when a fire alarm goes off," Polat said. The building pumped pressurized air into fire escapes to provide fresh air to people evacuating the building, he added.
Polat said the building had a total of 36,000 control points. "I am glad we had all those control sensors, and the greatest reward was the fact that no one was injured."
Around 1,500 people live in the high-rise, Polat said, adding that the building's security personnel were able to evacuate everyone, "including pets."
The fire was caused by a malfunction in one of the air conditioning devices, Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said.