14 injured in Dubai hotel blaze

Dubai, Jan 1 (IANS) A huge fire which injured 14 people and engulfed part of a luxury hotel in Dubai, near where revellers had gathered to watch a New Year’s eve fireworks display, has been brought under control, media reports said on Friday.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire started on Thursday night on the lower floor of the Address Downtown hotel from the outside and spread to the upper storeys, the Gulf News reported.

Firefighting teams managed to control 80 percent of the fire by 10.30 p.m. to ensure the New Year party continued.

Major-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Dubai Police chief, said once the firefighting efforts were completed, the teams began cooling procedures to ensure that the fire did not spread.

The fire damaged only the external interface of the hotel. All residents of the hotel were evacuated. There was no child among the injured.

Officials said one person had a heart attack as a result of the smoke and the rush to get out of the building. Another person was described as being moderately injured and 14 people were said to have suffered minor injuries.

A large fireworks display later went ahead at the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, in front of tens of thousands of people while plumes of smoke continued to billow from the nearby hotel fire.

Riaz Ahmad, a Pakistani, who went to watch the fireworks said that everything was normal on the other side of the Burj Khalifa as the people continued to enjoy the party.

“We could see the fire, but there is no stampede or rush in this area,” he said.

The hotel stands on a boulevard in downtown Dubai near the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall. The area is one of the sites for the annual New Year’s eve fireworks display, which is one of the largest in the world.

Last year, Dubai broke the world record for the largest fireworks display on the New Year’s Eve, releasing 479,651 shells during the midnight pyrotechnic show.

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