x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Plumes of smoke from The Address Downtown Dubai

A lower part of the hotel building was still on fire at 8am Friday, a resident and a photographer from The National said.

Abdulla Hassan, Sultan Ashor, Waleed Issa and Ashraf Khan from the Dubai Fire Station were amongst the first batch of firefighters to arrive on the scene last night. Here they rest after the fire was declared under control on Friday afternoon. Victor Besa for The National
Abdulla Hassan, Sultan Ashor, Waleed Issa and Ashraf Khan from the Dubai Fire Station were amongst the first batch of firefighters to arrive on the scene last night. Here they rest after the fire was declared under control on Friday afternoon. Victor Besa for The National

DUBAI // Civil Defence workers have put out the New Year’s Eve blaze at The Address Downtown Dubai hotel.

Plumes of dark smoke poured off building on Friday morning with a lower part of the hotel building still on fire at 11.30am Friday, a resident and a photographer from The National said.

“It is under control, we had four units working,” said a Civil Defence official, adding the fire was put out at 1.45pm.

“We thought there would be a lot of fire inside but most of the fire was outside on the cladding.”

Earlier, fresh flames coursed through the glass facade and large chunks of debris fell as the fire spread along the building’s rim, near sections that were charred in the blaze that began around 9.30pm on Thursday.

About 30 vehicles from Dubai Police and the Civil Defence were at the scene, with major access roads in Downtown Dubai blocked off from traffic.

Early morning joggers and parents pushing prams stopped to take photographs of the blackened outer shell of the hotel.

“You can still see fire in some parts of the building through the smoke,” said Janice Bernard, who lives in a service apartment in the Zafraan quarter opposite the hotel.

“There was panic last night because there was debris falling.

“No one was sure how much the fire would spread. It was sad to think of people inside because the flames moved so rapidly, the fire was intense.”

Gas lines have been turned off in restaurants and hotel apartments near the hotel.

“All our guests were evacuated last night for safety reasons and we are not sure when we can open,” said Thaer, the owner of an Arabic restaurant opposite the hotel.

“Restaurants on the boulevard were cleared and people were evacuated quickly. Some staff and I stayed behind because we wanted to make sure the restaurant was OK. It was terrible that this happened.”

At least 16 people sustained minor injuries in the blaze that broke out hours before the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks started at the nearby Burj Khalifa.

Those injured were treated for smoke inhalation.

Ninety per cent of the fire was brought under control before midnight, the Dubai Media Office said, and the fireworks at Burj Khalifa went ahead as scheduled.

Colonel Saif Al Mazrouei, Director of Traffic Department at the Dubai Police, said the fire was accidental and originated from the exterior parts of the building at the 20th floor.

rtalwar@thenational.ae