World

Dubai hotel engulfed by fire on New Year's Eve, near Burj Khalifa tower

Fire has swept through a 63-storey hotel near Dubai's tallest building, overshadowing the country's massive New Year's Eve fireworks display.

Dubai fireworks kick off as nearby tower burns

Dubai welcomes in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display even as a luxury hotel fire rages nearby.

Authorities have evacuated all of the Address Hotel guests and only minor injuries had been reported. Dubai Civil Defense official Rashid al-Matroushi told al-Arabiya television late on Thursday that firefighters have contained most of the blaze.

A medic on the scene who declined to be identified told Reuters: "There are more than 60 people injured with light injuries from smoke inhalation and from crowding while in the stairs evacuating the building."

Smoke and flames pour from a residential building, which contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai.
Smoke and flames pour from a residential building, which contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai. Photo: AP

One resident staying on the 15th floor of the tower, completed in 2008, told Britain's Sky News of "absolute pandemonium" as those inside realised the building was ablaze. "The alarms went off when the building was already properly on fire," he said.

The blaze had started on the 20th floor, on the outside of the tower, and that internal fire-fighting systems were operating to try to prevent it getting inside the hotel. Four fire brigade teams were at the site.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which ran up at least 20 stories of the five-star building near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper at 828 meters.

Burning debris rained down from the 300m building as fire crews raced to the scene. 

A fire engulfs at least 20 stories of The Address Hotel in Dubai.
A fire engulfs at least 20 stories of The Address Hotel in Dubai. Photo: AP

Dubai's New Year celebrations would proceed despite the fire. "Of course, it will not affect the celebration," Major General al-Matrushi said.

Fire engulfs Dubai hotel

RAW VISION: A fire has engulfed The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai hours before a large New Year fireworks display was set to start.

Dubai planned to wow spectators with three separate firework displays.

The show will take place at the 160-storey Burj Khalifa, which organisers said was fitted with 400,000 LED lights. They said 1.6 tonnes of fireworks would be used in the display.

The blaze comes almost two years after a fire ripped through the Dubai Marina Torch, one of the world's tallest residential buildings. In 2012, the Tamweel tower in the Jumeirah Lake Towers district neighbouring the marina was also wrecked by fire.

Bloomberg, Reuters