UPDATE: Fire breaks out in Dubai skyscraper near the Burj Khalif - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Fire breaks out in Dubai skyscraper near the Burj Khalifa

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A skyscraper burns in Dubai A skyscraper burns in Dubai
(NBC) -

UPDATE: DUBAI — A luxury hotel in downtown Dubai was engulfed by an inferno Thursday night as hundreds of thousands of New Year's Eve revelers gathered in the United Arab Emirates' biggest city — but it did not derail the annual fireworks extravaganza.

At the stroke of midnight, the skies over the city were painted by a colorful pyrotechnical display while firefighters battled the stubborn blaze devouring the facade of The Address Hotel — a 63-story hotel, residence and mall down the street from the Burj Khalifa tower, the world's tallest building.

"There are no injuries, thank God ... of course, it will not affect the celebration," Maj. Gen. Rashed al-Matrushi, general director of the Dubai Civil Defence, told the live broadcast.

But the Dubai government's media office reported there were 14 minor injuries, including one person who suffered a heart attack.

And on its Twitter feed, the media office said civil defense teams were working to evacuate the hotel and tackle the fire. The blaze is reported to have originated from outside the 20th floor of the hotel, but "has not spread inside," the media office said.

"Internal fire extinguishers are preventing spread of fire inside the hotel. Four squads of firefighters are working to control a fire."

Margaret Besheer, an American vacationing in Dubai, was dining on a nearby terrace when she looked up to see a fire on a lower balcony.

"It just spread very rapidly, I'd say within six or seven minutes, the entire side of the building was just engulfed in flames," she told MSNBC.

Lama Noppel, who lives in the Burj Khalifa, said they heard "a very, very loud explosion" before the fire broke out. She said the air smells like burning plastic.

"The fire is definitely not contained as authorities are saying," she said.

The Address complex is the 19th tallest building in Dubai at nearly 1,000-feet tall. It is a mixed-used complex, with residences, rentals, retail and dining. Wolfgang Puck runs a restaurant in the complex.

Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Gulf Arab trade and investment hub.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Fire broke out in a residential building near Dubai's massive New Year's Eve fireworks display.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which ran up at least 20 stories of the building near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper.

Burning debris rained down from the building as firetrucks raced to the scene. It was not immediately clear if anyone was wounded in the blaze.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for updates. 

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