Dubai probes cause of massive New Year’s Eve hotel fire

(From AFP)

Smoke was still rising from a 63-storey luxury hotel in Dubai on Friday as authorities worked to determine the cause of a spectacular fire that engulfed the building on New Year’s Eve.

Smoke billows from the Address Downtown Hotel in Dubai on January 1

Smoke billows from the Address Downtown Hotel in Dubai on January 1

The huge blaze at The Address Downtown hotel erupted around 9:30 pm (1730 GMT) on Thursday, sparking panic but no reports of serious injuries.

Authorities went ahead with a dazzling fireworks display at the nearby Burj Khalifa — the world’s tallest skyscraper — despite the inferno, the latest in a series of fires in recent years to hit the buildings that make up Dubai’s futuristic cityscape.

Officials have said the fire erupted from the outside of the building on its 20th floor but the exact cause was not yet known.

A top Dubai security official, General Dahi Khalfan, posted a picture on Twitter of a fire beneath a ledge of the building, saying the start of the blaze had been captured by a police criminal investigation photographer.

“This is where the search begins,” Khalfan wrote of the picture, which appeared to show a lower portion of the building.

Witnesses described scenes of panic after the fire spread, with residents screaming and some fainting as they rushed to evacuate the building.

Still, authorities said only 16 people had suffered mostly minor injuries.

At least 14 people were slightly injured, one was moderately injured and one person suffered a heart attack during the evacuation, the government said.

Fire-fighters spent the night trying to extinguish the blaze. Read More



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