Muscat: “I really got into trouble”. This was the first reaction of Indian expatriate Ahijit Seal, who travelled to Dubai to catch a glimpse of New Year’s fireworks at the nearby Burj Khalifa.
“We were near The Address Hotel when someone shouted at us that there is a big fire in the hotel. At that time we didn’t know what to do,” the 46-year-old, who was with his family, said.
He, along with his family and friends, then tried to escape from the area.
“But all the roads were blocked and I thought that I may not live to see 2016,” he said, adding that his panic multiplied when he heard that debris was falling from
“It was a huge fire and I haven’t seen anything like this before,” he said, thanking God that he and his family are still alive.
“I am not going to see the fireworks display at Burj Khalifa anymore,” he pledged.
Meanwhile, firefighters on Friday appeared to have largely extinguished the blaze, according to witnesses, as reported by Reuters.
Plumes of white smoke still rose from the charred, 63-storey Address Hotel and residential block at daybreak, but civil defence crews had largely extinguished the fire, which erupted around 2130 (1730 GMT).
Dubai police said the building was evacuated and only 14 people were lightly injured, but a medic at the scene said more than 60 people were treated for mild smoke inhalation and problems caused by crowding as they fled the hotel. Witnesses described seeing flaming debris falling from The Address Hotel as guests, some running, emerged from the hotel.
Celebrated annual tradition
The New Year’s fireworks display at the nearby Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is one of Dubai’s most celebrated annual traditions and attracted thousands of spectators on Thursday night — most of whom were evacuated before the celebration went on, as scheduled. Live TV broadcasts of the extravaganza appeared to show only a few dozen people in the vast viewing area near the tower.
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