Dubai Hotel: Firefighters Contain Blaze

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DUBAI—Firefighters contained a blaze at a Dubai hotel near the world’s tallest building on Friday, the day after it erupted in flames as thousands of New Year’s Eve revelers packed the area.

Giant flames shot up the sides of the 63-story Address Downtown hotel on Thursday and continued into the morning before it was contained. Smoke billowed from the building, sending a plume over the surrounding area.

“Civil defense squads continue the cooling down process at the Address Downtown hotel,” the Dubai government said in a Friday tweet. “The rising smoke is part of this process.”

The hotel is adjacent to the Burj Khalifa and the sprawling Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping complexes. The blaze started about two hours before midnight, when tens of thousands of people had gathered in the area for the fireworks extravaganza at the Burj Khalifa. The event went on as planned, even as the fire raged.

Dubai Hotel
© Reuters

“Dubai’s successful New Year’s celebration is testimony to its steadfast commitment to its major projects and initiatives,” the government’s tweet said.

Government-owned companies were offering rooms to affected ​guests on Friday, ​according to government tweets. The government said 16 people were injured, including from smoke inhalation and a heart attack triggered as a person ran from the scene.

The fire was likely accidental, Dubai Police Chief General Khamis Mattar said Thursday. Officials didn’t suspect criminal activity. An investigation was under way to determine the cause, he added.

Downtown Dubai is a central residential, entertainment and retail area popular with local people and foreign visitors to the United Arab Emirates.

Address Downtown contains serviced apartments, along with popular restaurants and bars. It is one of a small chain of Dubai luxury hotels owned by Emaar Properties, a government-owned real estate giant. Emaar completed its construction in 2008.

Emaar representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fire is one of several at Dubai high-rises in recent years. A blaze engulfed the Torch Tower in February. At 79 stories, Torch Tower is one of the world’s largest residential buildings.

The fires have raised questions about Dubai’s safety standards, as the emirate pushes ahead with rapid development that has in the past decade transformed it into a global business and tourism hub.

Concerns were raised about construction quality in 2012 when another fire ripped through the 34-floor Tamweel Tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, another upscale neighborhood on the city’s outskirts.

That fire was caused by a cigarette butt thrown in the garbage, but ​officials later blamed a​ flammable plastic at the core of the building’s outer cladding for its rapid spread.