- By Ismaeel Bousaid
The New Year got off to a horrific start for many in UAE
Fire has engulfed a 63-storey hotel in central Dubai ahead of a New Year’s Eve firework display.
Despite the blaze at the Address Hotel, the display at the nearby Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, went ahead as planned at midnight without interruption.
Officials say the fire has been brought under control and 16 people suffered mostly minor injures.
It is unclear what caused the blaze, which broke out as large crowds had gathered to ring in the new year.
People were asked to leave the area around the Address hotel, which was evacuated.
Flames rapidly engulfed much of the five-star hotel and apartment complex within 10 minutes, having broken out at about 21:30 local time (17:30 GMT) on New Year’s Eve.
The Dubai government stated via twitter that 14 people had suffered minor injuries, one moderate injuries and one “heart attack case” due to “overcrowding and smoke at the fire site”.
The fire had started on the 20th floor, officials said, and had not spread inside the building, they claimed.
Irish singer Anita Williams, who was performing at the hotel when the fire began, told the BBC that people left in a “stampede”.
“We left everything. There was debris falling down. It [the fire] just shot up through the entire hotel. Everybody was screaming, everybody was running… I thought: ‘This is a film’.”