Fire engulfs Dubai hotel ahead of New Year celebrations

Wednesday 06th January 2016 05:15 EST

DUBAI: A massive fire engulfed part of a luxury hotel in Dubai, lighting up the side of the Address Downtown hotel near the centre of the city on New Year's Eve. Dubai police said the blaze started on the 20th floor of the building, which is also a residential address. Footage taken by witnesses and uploaded to the internet shows huge flames rapidly climbing the hotel’s exterior from what appeared to be a terrace or balcony.

Witnesses said the hotel staff and fire crews evacuated all guests as the blaze did not immediately penetrate the building, instead, heating the outside of the 63-storey structure. Survivors said they were ushered out by the fire stairs. “We were immediately shown where to leave,” David Moran, a Dubai-based businessman who was dining in the hotel, said. “They were very good. They knew their jobs and people escaped without panic.” It took four hours for firefighters to put out the fire.

The hotel stands on a boulevard in downtown Dubai near the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall. The area is one of the sites for the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display, which is one of the largest in the world. A large fireworks display later went ahead at the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, in front of tens of thousands of people while plumes of smoke continued to soar from the nearby fire.

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