In a tragic start to the New Year, tens of thousands of people gathered to watch Dubai’s famed firework display but witnessed explosions of a different kind after The Address – a giant highrise next to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – burst into flames. Fire climbed the Address hotel, a sixty-three story, five-star, joint hotel and residential building, resulting in sixteen reported injuries related to overcrowding and smoke, as well as one heart attack.
Officials claim that the fire, which began on the 20th floor, did not spread inside the building despite having started as early as 9:30pm local time. However, sounds of explosions coming from inside the building were observed just fifteen minutes before midnight. Spectators were requested to vacate the hotel’s premises and the property was evacuated.
Despite this, the firework show at the neighboring Burj Khalifa took place as planned. The seven-minute firework show boasted a 400,000 LED light display installed on the world’s tallest building, along with 1.6 tons of fireworks.
The fire is reported to be under control, though its cause is still unknown. U.S. officials are cautious about potential threats to New Year’s Eve celebrations.