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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

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.

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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