BY Leila Hatoum
UPDATE 3: Dubai Media Office announced alternative accommodation for guests who had been forced to evacuate the hotel.
UPDATE 2: Officials say report of one dead following heart-attack in Address Hotel fire are inaccurate. Person is reportedly alive and being treated at a hospital.
UPDATE: Media reported one death following a heart-attack after fire breaks out in Dubai’s Address Hotel ahead of New Year celebrations.
DUBAI – Dec. 31- A massive fire erupted at a five-star hotel in Dubai’s crowded downtown area, ahead of New Year celebrations.
Huge flames engulfed parts of The Address Hotel, which stands at a short distance from the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – causing a stampede.
Dubai Police Chief General Khamis AlMuzainah told Newsweek Middle East over the phone that there have been “14 light injuries resulting mainly from stampede, and one heart attack case.”
AlMuzainah expected the fire to be completely under control before midnight, adding that the “New Year’s celebrations will carry on according to schedule.”
By 11:30pm (GMT +4), police and civil defense personnel were inside the hotel carrying a wide inspection and search mission to make sure that no one was trapped inside the hotel’s rooms.
The area, which has tens of thousands of people gathering to celebrate the New Year, was quickly secured by the police.
The cause of fire is still unknown. However, according to Dubai ruler’s son, Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the cause was due to an electrical malfunction.
“I was told that it was an electric malfunction,” the young sheikh was heard saying in a video he posted on his Instagram page.