A 63-storey luxury hotel was engulfed in flames even as a massive New Year’s firework display kicked off at the world’s tallest skyscraper. It was reported that just minutes before the fireworks began, large explosions were heard from inside the burning building which was cloaked in thick black smoke. Authorities were unable to confirm so as to what caused the explosions inside the luxury hotel. It was being reported that at least 14 people were injured while one person suffered a heart attack from the smoke and over-crowding during the evacuation. It is important to point towards the fact that around 1 million people had been expected to gather around the Burj Khalifa to watch the fireworks.
It is imperative to state that Dubai’s economy depends heavily on tourism and the time around New Years is considered to be the busiest time of the year, drawing people from around the world to watch the fireworks. The fire engulfed the Address Downtown, one of the most upscale hotels and residences in Dubai. The Dubai Media Office said that four teams of fire-fighters were working on putting out the fire. Many believe that the fire started on the terrace of the 20th floor.
The Dubai Media Office said that the tourism department would provide guests evacuated from the building with alternative hotel accommodation. It is important to state that organizers said that the Burj Khalifa was fitted with 400,000 LED lights and 1.6 tons of fireworks. Many onlookers reported that burning debris was seen falling from the Address building. The Address has 626 luxury apartments and 196 hotel rooms. There has been no official word on what caused the fire but many believe that a full enquiry would be carried into the matter by all government authorities concerned according to various media reports.