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Dubai Address Downtown: skyscraper hotel fire burns into 2016 after thousands welcome in New Year with huge fireworks display

  • At least 16 people injured
  • Debris falling from 63-storey building
  • Fire near site of planned fireworks display

Published 01/01/2016

Dubai's Address Downtown skyscraper hotel continued to burn into the first morning of 2016 after thousands of people gathered to celebrate the New Year with a massive fireworks display.

The massive skyscraper fire at one of the most upscale hotels and residences in Dubai started at around 9.30pm local time on Thursday.

More than 12 hours later, Dubai firefighters largely watched the fire from the ground, unable at one point to use a water hose on a ladder truck.

Dubai authorities said at least 16 people were slightly injured, and one person suffered a heart attack from the smoke and overcrowding during an evacuation.

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.

Burning debris was seen falling from the building as firefighters raced to the scene. Social media users reported people running away from the area in a panic.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which covered at least 20 stories of the building near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper.

The hotel is the sixth-tallest building in the city, with 63 floors at 991 feet tall. It has nearly 200 rooms and over 600 apartments.

Despite the blaze Dubai's fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa went ahead shortly after midnight (local time).

Organisers said the display included 400,000 LED lights used 1.6 tons of fireworks.

Flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 01: The Address Downtown Hotel is surrounded by smoke early on January 1, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At least 16 people were injured after a large fire broke out in the luxury high-rise hotel just hours before the New Year's celebrations. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire, with the cause of the blaze still unknown according to the emirate's police chief. AFP/Getty Images
Flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015.AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. AFP/Getty Images
A fire runs up some 20 stories of a building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 01: The Address Downtown Hotel is surrounded by smoke early on January 1, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At least 16 people were injured after a large fire broke out in the luxury high-rise hotel just hours before the New Year's celebrations. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 01: The Address Downtown Hotel is surrounded by smoke early on January 1, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At least 16 people were injured after a large fire broke out in the luxury high-rise hotel just hours before the New Year's celebrations. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Smoke and flames pouring from a residential building, which also contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday evening, Dec. 31, 2015. (Sina Bahrami/@dearsina via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
In this photo provided by Trevor Hale, smoke and flames pour out from a residential building as a fire runs up some 20 stories of the high rise in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. Fire engulfed the luxury building near the world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai on Thursday as tens of thousands of people were gathering at its base for one of the world's largest New Year's fireworks displays. (Trevor Hale via AP)
Smoke billows from the Address Downtown Hotel, after it caught on fire hours earlier, past fireworks, near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower in Dubai, on January 1, 2015. At least 16 people were injured when a huge fire ripped through a luxury 63-storey hotel, the Address Downtown, where crowds were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known but the building was safely evacuated. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD FARWANAHMAD FARWAN/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke billows from the Address Downtown Hotel, after it caught on fire hours earlier, past fireworks, near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower in Dubai, on January 1, 2015. At least 16 people were injured when a huge fire ripped through a luxury 63-storey hotel, the Address Downtown, where crowds were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known but the building was safely evacuated. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD FARWANAHMAD FARWAN/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke billows from the Address Downtown Hotel, after it caught on fire hours earlier, past fireworks, near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower in Dubai, on January 1, 2015. At least 16 people were injured when a huge fire ripped through a luxury 63-storey hotel, the Address Downtown, where crowds were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known but the building was safely evacuated. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD FARWANAHMAD FARWAN/AFP/Getty Images
Fireworks burst over the Atlantis Hotel (R) at the man-made Palm Island in Dubai, on January 1, 2016. A spectacular fireworks display lit up the sky above Dubai, centred on the iconic Burj Khalifa tower close to where a huge fire in a luxury hotel injured 16 people hours earlier. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANIMARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images
This image taken from AP video shows smoke and flames pouring from a residential building, which also contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday evening, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people watching the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIBKARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people watching the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIBKARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIBKARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIBKARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people watching the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIBKARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

As the Address hotel continued to burn fireworks lit up the sky around the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab.

Fireworks displays were also held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country of seven emirates.

Earlier Irishman Kenneth Flynn spoke to Sky News from the scene of fire.

The Kerryman, who works in the UAE, said: "When we walked out, the whole building was just ablaze. It was unbelievable. The heat was so intense.”

“I see the firefighters on the building now and they basically did the best job they could under the circumstances.

“I’m no expert or fire engineer but what I can see here is the fascia of the building seems to be burning, it seemed to go up like paper. There is debris actually spreading everywhere from it.

“I’ve never seen anything going up so fast.”










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