- Fifteen people sustain injuries, one suffers heart attack
- Cause not yet known, though terrorism ruled out by police
A fire engulfed a luxury hotel in downtown Dubai close to the Burj Khalifa tower where thousands of people gathered for a New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
Authorities evacuated all guests out of the Address Downtown Dubai hotel, Civil Defense official Rashid al-Matroushi told al-Arabiya television late on Thursday. Fifteen people sustained light to moderate injuries, while one person suffered a heart attack, according to the Dubai media office. A fireworks show continued as scheduled at about midnight, meters away from where the hotel fire was still going but appeared to be losing intensity.
The media office said earlier firefighters had the blaze 90 percent under control before eyewitnesses reported a series of explosions. While the exact cause of the fire isn’t yet known, investigators have ruled out terrorism, Dubai Commandant General Khamis Matar Al Muzainah said by phone.
Witnesses saw flames racing up the outside of the hotel with smoke billowing out. The fire started on an outside structure of the 20th floor, according to the media office.
The 306-meter tall, 63-story Address Downtown, a hotel and resort, was developed by Emaar Properties PJSC, which was also behind the neighboring Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower. A second Address Hotel is situated close by. All three buildings overlook the Dubai Mall and fountains, the focal point for the emirate’s New Year’s celebrations.
The blaze comes almost a year 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 neighboring the marina was wrecked by fire.