Now Playing
95.1 WAPE

Posted: December 31, 2016

Dubai luxury hotel fire: What we know now

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Trending on Facebook

More popular and trending stories

The New Year's fireworks display kicked off at the world's tallest skyscraper nearby, while tens of thousands of people whistled and cheered at early Friday's pyrotechnics.

Just minutes before the fireworks began in the Gulf emirate of Dubai, large explosions could be heard from inside the burning building, which was cloaked in thick black smoke. Other blasts followed later during the night. It was not clear what caused them.

At least 14 people were slightly injured, and one person suffered a heart attack from the smoke and over-crowding during an evacuation late Thursday, according to the Dubai Media Office. The statement said another person was moderately injured, without elaborating further. No children were among those injured, it said.

Around 1 million people had been expected to gather around the Burj Khalifa skyscraper to watch the fireworks. Dubai's economy depends heavily on tourism, and New Year's is one of the busiest seasons, drawing people from around the world to watch the fireworks that the emirate puts on at the world's tallest tower, as well as the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab and over a man-made palm-shaped island.

Organizers had installed 400,000 LED lights on the Burj Khalifa and used some 1.6 tons of fireworks for the seven-minute extravaganza. Two years ago on New Year's, Dubai broke the world record for the largest fireworks display.

The fire engulfed the Address Downtown, one of the most upscale hotels and residences in Dubai, which was likely to have been packed with people because of its clear view of the 828-meter (905-yard) tall Burj Khalifa.

The hotel towers over the Souq Al Bahar, a popular shopping area with walkways that connect to the Burj Khalifa and the Middle East's largest mall, the Dubai Mall.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which ran up the 63-story building. The Address is a 991 foot-tall (302-meter) skyscraper that has 626 luxury apartments and 196 hotel rooms, according to Skyscraper Center, which tracks such buildings.

BREAKING UPDATES FROM EARLIER:

(ALL TIMES EST)

3:11 PM

A massive fireworks display kicked off for New Year's at the world's tallest tower in Dubai, while plumes of smoke billowed in the air from a fire raging at a nearby tower.

Tens of thousands of people whistled and cheered at the display taking place at the Burj Khalifa.

Meanwhile, teams of firefighters were working to put out a blaze that has engulfed a 63-story luxury hotel and residential building. At least 14 people were slightly injured and one person suffered a heart attack from the smoke and over-crowding during evacuation late Thursday.

3:00 PM (Midnight Dubai)

After major hotel fire, Dubai moved forward with New Year fireworks show. 

2:55 PM

The Dubai Media Office said 14 people had been lightly injured and that one suffered a heart attack due to the smoke and overcrowding during evacuation. The statement said another person was moderately injured, without elaborating further. No children were among those injured.

2:43 PM

Officials tell ABC News that at least 14 people received minor injuries in the fire. Some reports indicate that the fire is 90 percent contained.

EARLIER:

Fire engulfed a luxury building near the world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai on Thursday, where tens of thousands of people had gathered for a massive New Year's fireworks display.

>> Photos: Fire engulfs luxury hotel

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which ran up at least 20 stories of the building, which would likely have been packed with people because of its clear view of the 828-meter (905-yard) tall Burj Khalifa. The hotel towers over the Souq Al Bahar, a popular shopping area with walkways that connect the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall

Burning debris rained down from the building as firetrucks raced to the scene. It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured in the blaze. A civil defense official told The Associated Press by phone that the building was evacuated and no injuries were reported. The official was not authorized to brief reporters so requested anonymity.

>> Read more trending stories  

The fire broke out at The Address Downtown, a 63-story luxury hotel and residential building, about two hours before midnight, when the fireworks display was set to begin. To manage the crowds, Dubai police had closed off some roads and the metro before the fire broke out.

Dubai's Media Office wrote on its official Twitter account that four teams of firefighters were working to put out the blaze. They said the fire appears to have originated on a 20th floor terrace.

The emirate said New Year's Eve celebrations will go on as planned. Organizers had expected a million people to attend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


 
 
 

Amazon Alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!