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'People were shoving each other down the stairs and climbing over each other': Panic in Dubai as inferno rips though 63-storey hotel...

The Address Downtown Dubai hotel fire disrupts New Years Eve celebrations

  • The Address Downtown is currently on fire in the Middle Eastern city, with the flames running up at least 40 storeys 
  • Hotel just across a lake from the Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building, which hosted a fireworks display at midnight
  • People inside the hotel have described the 'pandemonium' as people tried to escape the burning building 

New Year's revellers were sent running for their lives after a fire engulfed a five-star hotel just moments from where Dubai's spectacular fireworks display was due to begin.

The Address Downtown caught fire at about 9.30pm Dubai time, with the flames appearing to reach from the ground floor up another 40-or-so storeys of the 63 floor building.

Those who escaped described how people climbed over each other in their rush to escape the burning building.

One Briton was forced to carry his disabled mother on his back. 

A medic has revealed that at least 60 people were hurt, many with crush injuries, with officials saying one person suffered a heart attack. 

The Address Downtown is on fire, with the flames reaching up about 40 storeys of the 63 floor hotel

The fire is said to have started on a terrace on the 20th storey of the luxury hotel

The fire is said to have started on a terrace on the 20th storey of the luxury hotel

Emergency services were quickly on the scene of the fire, which is said to be confined to the outside 

Emergency services were quickly on the scene of the fire, which is said to be confined to the outside 

The authorities have said there are no reported injuries from the fire, with everyone evacuated 

The authorities have said there are no reported injuries from the fire, with everyone evacuated 

The fireworks displays, which were taken place only a few hundred feet away, continued despite the building continuing to burn

The fireworks displays, which were taken place only a few hundred feet away, continued despite the building continuing to burn

Explosions coming from inside the building were heard just minutes before the fireworks were set off

Explosions coming from inside the building were heard just minutes before the fireworks were set off

The hotel would likely have been packed with people waiting in their rooms for the best view of the fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, which sits just across the lake from The Address.

Those waiting below found themselves in danger of being struck by burning debris falling from the building. 

Angus Villar was in the hotel on the 15th floor when his father noticed the room next door was on fire.

He told Sky News he was forced to carry his disabled mother on his back to escape.

Mr Villar described it as 'pandemonium'. 

'It was the classic thing where you would expect women and children first, but no. People were shoving each other down the stairs and climbing over each other,' he said. 

Fire engines struggled to get through the crowds to the fire, which started on a terrace on the 20th floor, according to reports.

Police had already cordoned off roads in the area in expectation of a million people attending the vent.

Those who had arrived early to grab the best spots were forced to flee the blaze, yet despite the panic, the authorities have said the display is still going ahead.

They have also said no one was hurt in the blaze at the 300 metre tall building, and everyone had been evacuated safely.

The fire was almost entirely out by 11pm Dubai time, authorities said.

However, at midnight the fire was still blazing. 

This did not stop the New Year celebrations, and the fireworks went ahead at the Burj Khalifa, just 500 yards away from the smoldering building. 

Tens of thousands of people whistled and cheered at the show while teams of firefighters were working to put out the blaze. 

Just minutes before the fireworks began, large explosions could be heard from inside the burning building, which was cloaked in thick black smoke. It was not clear what caused the blasts.

The hotel is just across a lake from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, where a New Year's fireworks display is planned. It is thought many people will have been in the hotel waiting for it to start

The hotel is just across a lake from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, where a New Year's fireworks display is planned. It is thought many people will have been in the hotel waiting for it to start

 The hotel also towers over the Souq Al Bahar, a popular shopping area with walkways that connect the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall

 The hotel also towers over the Souq Al Bahar, a popular shopping area with walkways that connect the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall

Eyewitnesses say the fire took hold within about five minutes of starting, but there was not bang

Eyewitnesses say the fire took hold within about five minutes of starting, but there was not bang

The two buildings face each other - meaning many people will have been in their rooms with their unobstructed view, waiting for the fireworks to begin

The two buildings face each other - meaning many people will have been in their rooms with their unobstructed view, waiting for the fireworks to begin

An hour earlier, officials had been keen to play down the severity of the fire as they promised the display would go ahead.

'There are no injuries, thank God ... of course, it will not affect the celebration,' Major General Rashed al-Matrushi, general director of the Dubai Civil Defence, told Al Arabiya. 

Meanwhile, Ali Al Mutawa, of Dubai's Civil Defence, told 7Days UAE: 'We have controlled 65 per cent of the fire in the hotel and no casualties have been seen so far after evacuating the hotel.' 

However, their statements were later amended. 

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. 

But 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.'

The fire began at about 9.30pm, and is said to have taken hold of the outside of the building within minutes.

Tom Stroud, 35, an eyewitness who is on holiday in Dubai, said: 'There was no bang or bomb-like sound, we just looked over and saw an inferno.

'It gathered speed extremely quickly.'  

Atieh S (@AtiehS), who watched from a nearby building, said the fire took hold in just five minutes.

She tweeted: 'People are running away! This is so horrific!!!!! Falling on people's houses.'

One person had a heart attack and at least 14 others suffered minor injuries, according to the Dubai Media Office

One person had a heart attack and at least 14 others suffered minor injuries, according to the Dubai Media Office

One eyewitness described seeing people pushing each other out the way in their desperation to escape the hotel

One eyewitness described seeing people pushing each other out the way in their desperation to escape the hotel

The cause of the fire is not yet known, nor is it known whether anyone has been hurt in the fire

Mohammed Al Sarraf, told The National the fire was 'raging'.

'It’s gotten so much bigger in five minutes. It’s gone from just a small fire at the foot of the building and now it’s shooting up the middle and the top.' 

The city is planning on three spectacular displays, beginning at the Burj Khalifa, which organisers said was fitted with 400,000 LED lights. They said 1.6 tons of fireworks would be used in the display.

The Downtown is just across a lake from the Burj Khalifa, facing each other. 

It also towers over the Souq Al Bahar, a popular shopping area with walkways that connect the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall.

Many people will have been in their rooms, ready and waiting for the spectacular display to begin.  

From there, the fireworks were to light up the sky around the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab and later down near the Dubai Marina.

Fireworks also will be on display in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country of seven emirates.

All guests and staff had been evacuated from the hotel by 11pm in Dubai, the authorities said

All guests and staff had been evacuated from the hotel by 11pm in Dubai, the authorities said

Tens of thousands have gathered in the area to watch the fireworks celebrating the New Year, but were told to evacuate when the fire took hold

Tens of thousands have gathered in the area to watch the fireworks celebrating the New Year, but were told to evacuate when the fire took hold

It is the second blaze at a Dubai skyscraper this year, after the Marina Torch tower was engulfed in flames in the early hours of February 21.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from one of the world’s tallest residential buildings, as a large blaze ripped through multiple floors of the tower.

After firefighters extinguished the blaze, residents could see the external cladding on the corners of the building was charred black and mangled for dozens of floors.

Nobody was killed, but seven people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. 


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Comment by eollis on January 20, 2021 at 9:06am

Oh Gosh!
Yes, people are a bit frightening, aren't they?
I don't like to read such news, but sometimes I have to. I have rented an office in Dubai and, frankly, I was worried if everything was okay there, because now I am not there. I would not like all my documents to be damaged in the fire. But as it turned out, everything is fine. Now there must be no human losses.
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