Dubai/Nagpur: Fire engulfed a 63-storey skyscraper in downtown Dubai near the world’s tallest building on Thursday night, but the block was successfully evacuated and there were only light injuries, the emirate’s police chief said.
Tongues of flame shot skywards from one side of the luxury Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block, which stands across a plaza from the 830-metre Burj Khalifa tower where people were gathering for a spectacular fireworks display due to mark the start of the New Year. Burning debris rained down from The Address building as firetrucks raced to the scene.
14 people with minor injuries were treated on site, one person died of heart attack.
The Dubai government’s media office said the blaze was 90 per cent under control. Police chief Major General Khamis Matar told Al Arabiya television: “All residents of the hotel were evacuated and there are 14 injured, with light injuries.”
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.”
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.
A Reuters correspondent saw police evacuating a viewing area near the base of the Burj Khalifa, where tourists and Dubai residents were set to enjoy one of the world’s largest pyrotechnic displays to usher in 2016.