Dubai works to determine cause of New Year’s Eve fire

Authorities probe cause of huge hotel fire in Dubai, as firefighters extinguish most of blaze, witnesses say

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Smoke rises from the Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block near the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, a day after the hotel caught fire on New Year's Eve, in Dubai January 1, 2016.

Plumes of white smoke are still rising from one of Dubai's most distinguished skyscrapers on Friday, as authorities work to determine the cause of the fire that broke out in the building on New Year's Eve.

Firefighters on Friday have managed to extinguish most of the blaze.

The huge fire which erupted at around 21:30 (17:30 GMT) has mostly been taken under control.

It broke out at Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block on Thursday, a 63-storey luxury hotel, which is nearby Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower of the world, where thousands of people were gathering to watch a fireworks show as part of the New Year celebrations.

Dubai police reported the building was evacuated and 14 people were lightly injured, but a medic said the number of people that had been treated for mild smoke inhalation and problems caused by crowding was over 60. The government said one person had a heart attack during the evacuation.

Injured people are seen outside the Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block after a fire engulfed the skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 31, 2015.

Officials said the fire started on the 20th floor outside of the tower as the exact cause is still unknown.

A top Dubai security official, General Dahi Khalfan, posted a picture on his Twitter account of a fire near the hotel’s base, saying the start of the blaze had been captured by a police criminal investigation photographer.

"This is where the search begins," Khalfan wrote.

The hashtag #NeedanAddress trended on Twitter overnight as Dubai inhabitants offered to open their homes to the hotel guests that had to leave the building.

The government said the evacuated guests were provided alternative accommodation as well as a telephone number to call for assistance.

Dubai, a tourist and business hub, has become famed in recent years for its cityscape, but has also witnessed a number of huge fires.

Last year, in November, a massive blaze engulfed three residential blocs in the city center and in February, another fire destroyed luxury flats in the Torch tower

TRTWorld and agencies