Dubai hotel fire 'under control'

People run away as a fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai (Reuters)
People run away as a fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai (Reuters)

A major fire has broken out in a hotel near the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa in central Dubai.

A wall of flames engulfed the building within 10 minutes, with burning debris falling from the 300-metre tall building called The Address, the BBC reports.

The fire started ahead of a major New Year's Eve fireworks display set to go off at the Burj Khalifa and crowds who gathered to watch it have been asked to leave.

The fireworks display has gone ahead as planned.

There is no indication of how the fire may have started, though witnesses say it started around 9:30pm (local time).

Local authorities say it is now under control and at least 16 have suffered mostly minor injuries from the fire.

The Dubai government has tweeted there was one heart attack case due to overcrowding and smoke. Alternative accommodation will be offered to those who had to be evacuated.

Officials say it started on the 20th floor, and had not spread inside the building, BBC reports.

American Josh Gatlin is in Dubai and was watching the towering inferno.

"A couple of things may have happened. Either this building is built out of stuff that is very flammable or something has caused this big of a fire to spread very rapidly because I'm not seeing regular types of things that would calm this fire down working whatsoever – this is spreading very rapidly," he says.

Other witnesses said they heard explosions from the 20-storey, 5-star hotel.

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