A newspaper photographer who was on a 48th floor of the 63-storey Address Downtown hotel on New Year’s Eve in Dubai to take pictures of the fireworks when the fire erupted said he had spent a harrowing 30 minutes standing on a ledge outside the building, only metres from the raging blaze.
The huge blaze at The Address Downtown hotel erupted around 9pm on December 31, Thursday, sparking panic but no reports of serious injuries.
“One hour, then that’s it, I’m dead,” the photographer thought as he stood on the ledge, before eventually being saved by rescue workers.
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.
They said the fire is believed to have erupted from the outside of the building on its 20th floor before spreading along its whole facade. But the exact cause was not yet known.
The Address Downtown hotel, opened in May 2008 and owned by Dubai property giant Emaar’s hospitality group, is the 18th tallest building in the city and the 93rd highest in the world.
A growing tourist destination, Dubai has become famed in recent years for its distinctive skyline and ambitious building projects, but has suffered from a number of spectacular fires.
In November, a massive blaze engulfed three residential blocks in central Dubai and led to services on a metro line being suspended, although no one was hurt.
In February, a huge fire gutted one of the emirate’s tallest buildings, destroying luxury flats in the Torch tower and triggering an evacuation of nearby blocks in the Dubai Marina neighbourhood.
In 2012, a massive blaze gutted the 34-storey Tamweel Tower in the nearby Jumeirah Lake Towers district.
It was later revealed to have been caused by a cigarette butt thrown into a bin.
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