A fire has broken out at a residential building and hotel in downtown Dubai near the planned New Year’s fireworks display.
Local media outlets are reporting that there have been 14 injuries and one casualty – a heart attack caused by a stampede that resulted during an evacuation of the nearby area.
Eyewitnesses report debris falling from the 300m tall Address Hotel and say that roughly 30 floors of the 63 storey building are ablaze.
The tower is positioned very close to the Burj Khalifa, the centre of New Year’s celebrations in the city.
It is currently unknown what the cause of the fire is, although some have claimed that the fire started on the 20th floor of the building and then spread quickly through the tower.
An eyewitness speaking to BBC News said that the fire seemed to originate from an area where a bar is located, creating speculation that a firework may have been set off, causing the blaze.
Meanwhile, a guest speaking to Sky News said that he saw no sprinklers activate in the building and that fire alarms only sounded after the fire had spread through a large part of the building.
Dubai authorities have claimed that there have been no injuries and that New Year’s festivities will continue as planned this evening. However, Sky News have speculated that authorities may be trying to play down the seriousness of the situation to avoid a panic.
An evacuation of the nearby area is under way, where tens of thousands of people were expected to see in the New Year in just over an hours time.
The fire brings back memories of the Windsor Tower fire in Madrid ten years ago, where an electrical fault caused a fire to spread throughout the building and resulted in the collapse of the outermost upper floors of the building.