A huge fire is raging in a high-rise luxury hotel in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It seems that the massive fire broke out on the twentieth floor of the Address five-star hotel in downtown Dubai, The fire seems to have spread quickly through the 60-story hotel, which is close to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper. The fire is also close to the area where one of the world’s biggest new-year fireworks displays is set to take place to herald the new year in Dubai.
At this time, the BBC is reporting that the Dubai authorities are indicating that the fire will not put a stop to the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. The Dubai authorities want to continue as normal because tens of thousands of ticket holders are already flooding the downtown area in anticipation of this evening fireworks. New Year’s in Dubai is just over an hour away, and the authorities will be keen to avoid the fire causing widespread panic.
At this time of year, Dubai is flooded with Northern European tourists who fly south in search of some guaranteed winter sunshine. As news of the huge fire spread, tourists in Dubai began flooding social media sites.
With such a huge fire close to an iconic site, many people will immediately be concerned that Dubai has suffered a terrorist attack, but according to the Telegraph, there is no evidence that terrorism is involved.
British tourist Michelle Duque, who is visiting Dubai for the New Year celebrations, just told the BBC that she had witnessed the outbreak of the fire.
“All of a sudden we saw this huge black plume of black smoke coming between the Khalifa Tower and the hotel. The flames burst out really big and before we knew it the whole of the Address Hotel was covered in orange flames.”
Duque also said that she had to prevent her 25-year-old son from going back close to the scene of the fire to rescue his car that had been parked in an underground car park near to the scene of the fire.
The video below shows CNN pictures of the extent of the fire as it rages. It appears that the fire has now spread to both sides of the hotel and both up and down from the seat of the fire on the 20th floor. The scenes will bring back terrifying memories of the scene we witnessed as the twin-towers burned on 9/11, but thankfully up to now there are no reports of casualties.
With the fire burning in the way it is, the building must be in danger of collapse, and the Dubai authorities are surely taking a huge risk by making the decision to continue with tonight’s fireworks celebrations. The Irish Times has reported that huge chunks of burning debris are falling from the building and hampering attempts by firefighters to tackle the fire. In such a situation, it seems bizarre that the authorities are allowing the celebrations to continue.
According to the Telegraph, former U.K. defense secretary Dr. Liam Fox is a guest at the Address hotel.
UPDATE: No causalities in Dubai hotel fire. Officials pic.twitter.com/G9K5ptP8hI— Breaking News (@NewsOnTheMin) December 31, 2015
A spokeswoman for The Address chain of hotels said the building had been evacuated, but she could not be sure there was no one still inside.
“The building has been fully evacuated but we have no more information about what has happened, It’s a pretty big fire. It started about 30 minutes ago and is still going on. We don’t know the reason it happened yet.”
“The fireworks display was due to start outside the Burj Khalifa.”
[Image via Twitter]