A massive fireworks display kicked off for New Year’s at the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, while plumes of smoke billowed in the air from a fire raging at a nearby luxury tower.
Tens of thousands of people whistled and cheered at the show taking place at the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, as teams of fire-fighters were working to put out the blaze that had engulfed a 63-storey luxury hotel and residential building. Just minutes before the fireworks began, large explosions could be heard from inside the burning building, which was cloaked in thick black smoke. It was not clear what caused the blasts.
At least 14 people were slightly injured and one person suffered a heart attack from the smoke and overcrowding during evacuation late on Thursday, according to Dubai Media Office. The statement said another person was moderately injured, without elaborating further. No children were among those injured, it said.
Organisers had installed 400,000 LED lights on the Burj Khalifa and used some 1.6 tonnes of fireworks for the seven-minute extravaganza.
The fire engulfed the Address Downtown, one of the most upscale hotels and residences in Dubai, which was likely to have been packed with people because of its clear view of the Burj Khalifa.
Dubai’s Media Office tweeted that four teams of fire-fighters were working to put out the blaze. They said the fire appears to have originated on a 20th floor terrace.
The fire broke out about two hours before the midnight fireworks display was set to begin. To manage the crowds, Dubai police had closed off some roads and the metro before the fire broke out.
Nearly an hour after the fire began, some onlookers began to leave while others stood, pressed against crowd barricades, watching the blaze. Among them was Chris Browne, a tourist from London, who watched with her husband, Stephen, standing behind her. They said they hoped no one was injured.
“It’s pretty scary stuff,” she said.
Courtesy : The Hindu