Istanbul tower goes up in flames

Istanbul tower goes up in flames

Istanbul tower goes up in flames

The fire, which burned siding in the tower, was easily brought under control since it had a “smart building system, Daily News/ Emrah GUREL

A large blaze broke out in a 42-story tower block in the center of Istanbul yesterday without causing any injuries. Firefighting crews brought the fire under control in nearly two hours and rescued those who were trapped inside by the flames.

Black smoke rose at noon from Polat Towers in Istanbul’s business district Fulya, buildings which are partly residential and partly occupied by shops and businesses. The fire was caused by a malfunction in one of the air conditioning devices, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said. The fire, which burned siding in the tower, was easily brought under control since it had a “smart building system,” the owner of the tower, Adnan Polat, told daily Hürriyet.

Polat also said the building had internal mechanisms that reacted to such disasters, thereby stopping the flames from spreading to the interior of the structure. “The 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 monitoring points. “I am glad we had all those monitoring sensors, and the greatest reward was the fact that no one was injured.” Around 1,500 people, including some famous figures, live in the high rise, Polat said, adding that the building’s security personnel were able to evacuate everyone, “including pets.” Muhammet Dezkaya, manager of smart-building construction firm Kontek, said smart buildings detect smoke immediately and sprinklers are set off, which is crucial to keeping the fire from spreading. “Automatic sprinkling systems are used in smart buildings; this prevents fire from spreading to other parts of the building through cooling. Smart buildings also save people from smoke poisoning,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. Şişli district Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül also appreciated the smart structure of the building, saying the building’s fire-extinguishing system was automatically activated. “Otherwise we could have faced a huge disaster,” he told The Associated Press, adding that the inside of the tower had not been damaged by the flames. Nearby buildings and gas stations were evacuated as a precaution. Roads were also cordoned off in the area. Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş also made a visit to the fire site to investigate the incident. “We escaped a disaster since it’s a smart building. This has been a warning for us.”