Fire breaks out at Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai

Huge fire breaks out at Atkins-designed Dubai skyscraper

A fire has engulfed The Address Downtown Dubai hotel tower near the Burj Khalifa, ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations.

Burning debris was seen falling from The Address, designed by international architecture and engineering firm Atkins.

According to the BBC, the cause of the fire is not yet known. The skyscraper occupies a site close to the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which hosted a massive fireworks display tonight despite the nearby blaze.

The 302-metre-tall, 63-storey tower was completed in 2008, and is currently the 19th tallest building in the Emirate.

The fire is thought to have engulfed around 20 floors of the building. According to the Dubai Media Office, the official government communications department, there were 14 minor injuries related to the fire, one major injury, and one person suffered a heart attack and smoke inhalation.

The blaze is contained to the outside of the building. Internal sprinkler systems have prevented it from spreading to the interior. 

In February, another fire broke out at the 70-storey Torch skyscraper in Dubai by local studio Khatib & Alami. At 336 metres, it is one of the tallest residential towers in the world.

The fire, which started on the 50th floor, led to the evacuation of more than 1,000 people. Witnesses claimed that chunks of metal and glass could be seen raining down from above. Traffic in the area had to be diverted and residents of two other nearby buildings were also evacuated.

The blaze was extinguished within two hours, and no casualties were reported.

Starting in 2016, the Emirate plans to use jetpacks to reach people and deliver equipment during skyscraper fires.

Developed by Martin Aircraft Company, the jetpacks are being tailored to meet the needs of firefighters and rescue workers, including allowing them to be operated hands-free in hover mode. This will make it easier for firefighters to carry equipment or assess heat sources using thermal imaging cameras.

"Dubai is leading the world in high-rises, and sometimes we have challenges or difficulties reaching those buildings," Dubai's Civil Defence chief Ali Hassan Almutawa told the Khaleej Times. "Sometimes we also find it difficult to communicate with people in those high-rises, especially when people are panicking from windows or balconies."

Top image is via Muhammad Lila.