The new year got off to an unfortunately fiery start in Dubai as the Address Downtown Hotel went up in flames. The hotel is right next to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, where the actual fireworks show is. Reuters and the BBC are reporting that up to 16 people were injured and one person suffered a heart attack during the evacuation of the building; the heart attack victim subsequently passed away (this is unconfirmed at this point). Little is known about the cause of the fire, which reportedly started at 21:30 (GMT), December 31 on the 20th floor and subsequently engulfed 40 floors of this 63-storey building.
[UPDATE 1] Wire services are reporting that Emaar Properties, parent company of the Emaar Hospitality Group, have decided to shutter the Address Downtown Hotel indefinitely. “Guests have been provided with alternate accommodation in various hotels in Dubai,” Emaar Properties said in a statement. No word yet on the cause of the fire nor on the financial implications for firm. No new injuries have been reported but Dubai authorities upped the injured count to 16 and added detail on the heart attack victim. Our story has been updated to reflect this.
Witnesses reported that explosions were heard at the hotel after blaze began. As of this posting, the fire has been contained but the BBC reports that the 20th floor is still ablaze. The authorities are presently investigating. The Address Hotels and Resorts, launched by the Emaar Hospitality Group, has not released a statement on the fire but has set up a hotline for guests affected by the situation.
Image credit: Danny15. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons