New Year fireworks with a difference lit up the Dubai skyline when a luxury 63-storey hotel caught fire and burned – while authorities went ahead with a scheduled fireworks display at nearby Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest skyscraper.
The decision to go ahead with the official display alongside the towering inferno was criticised by some, but robustly defended by authorities in Dubai, who said it was an optimistic response.
Video of the blaze at The Address Downtown hotel on YouTube might make a few people think twice about staying in high-rise hotels, however.
Two brief YouTube clips, less than 30 seconds each, catch the inferno at its fiercest:
Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, though 16 people were hurt. It’s not the first fire in recent years to hit the giant skyscrapers that comprise the Dubai cityscape.
Dubai property giant Emaar Properties has pledged to restore The Address Downtown.
“We are determined to restore it to all its glory, and even surpass the splendid architectural standards,” chairman Mohamed Alabbar said at the weekend.
The blaze engulfed the property three hours before midnight Thursday, as crowds gathered to watch a promised fireworks spectacular. They got more than they bargained for.
The fire is believed to have erupted mysteriously from the outside of the building on the 20th storey before spreading quickly.
“Security services are investigating the causes and circumstances of the fire,” Dubai authorities said on New Year’s Day.
The Address Downtown hotel is the 18th tallest building in the city and the 93rd highest in the world. It opened in May 2008.
Written by Peter Needham