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Dubai Skyscraper Luxury Hotel Engulfed By Fire

VIDEO [CC] Breaking News: 63-story luxury hotel 'The Address Downtown Dubai' on fire near world's tallest building in New Year's Eve at Dubai.

DUBAI, UAE -- A huge fire engulfed a Dubai skyscraper on Thursday just hours before New Year's celebrations with a number of explosions heard in and around the building.

Firefighters battled a massive blaze that engulfed a luxury hotel in Dubai Thursday night while a spectacular New Year’s fireworks display lit up the night sky nearby.

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Orange tentacles of flames engulfed a large section of the high-end The Address Downtown Hotel soon after the blaze began around 9:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. ET). Hours later, dark plumes of smoke billowed from the building as the fire still appeared to be searing several stories.

Witnesses said they heard explosions as the fire raged. A source told CNN the fire broke out in a residence on the building’s 20th floor when the curtains caught on fire.

Jaqueline Hurtado, a CNN en Español correspondent, said she was at a restaurant in the area when she heard an explosion, “like a loud pop,” and thought the fireworks display may have started early.

Then she and others noticed flames at the hotel, and were soon evacuated from the area.

“That fire was big. The fire was just going so fast,” she said. “It just started burning real quick.”

At least 16 people were injured, the Dubai government’s media office said Thursday night on Twitter.

But the highly anticipated New Year’s Eve festivities in the United Arab Emirates’ most populous city including what was billed as one of the world’s largest fireworks displays went ahead as planned. Cheering crowds of onlookers watched as bursts of color filled the sky.

Just a few blocks away, the scene was dramatically different.

At the Address hotel, which describes itself as “the premier five-star hotel” in Dubai, flames appeared to be devouring growing portions of the high-rise, even as government officials said the blaze was largely contained. Source

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