The fire at the Polat Tower Residence, which contains residential units and businesses, in İstanbul’s Beşiktaş district caused panic in the city on Tuesday morning, but it was quickly contained, mainly because of the building’s own firefighting capabilities.
During the morning, police closed the road to traffic as the blaze grew. A nearby gas station and a private hospital were evacuated.
Numerous fire engines arrived at the scene and began trying to contain the blaze at around 11 a.m. It was brought under control in less than two hours. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Speaking to reporters after the fire was brought under control, İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş thanked Adnan Polat, the owner of Polat Holding, which owns the building. “This incident has shown us something. They have built a very smart building. The anti-fire system cooled itself off, the fire-fighting systems went off and this prevented the fire from spreading to the interior parts of the building. Gas systems were automatically shut down, preventing a potential gas buildup or explosion inside. It also produced reverse pressure inside the building to keep smoke from entering the building.” He said a potential disaster was averted thanks to the building’s own firefighting capabilities. “There is property damage but no loss of life,” the mayor said.
Topbaş also countered criticism that the city’s firefighters were late in responding, saying the time between the incoming call about the fire and the first response - - with 30 fire trucks and 100 firefighters - - was three minutes.