ADDRESS HOTEL FIRE STARTED AROUND 20TH FLOOR
There is breaking news about a major rapidly spreading fire which has broken out on New Year’s Eve in a 63 floor, downtown Dubai skyscraper comprised of an hotel section, residences, restaurants and a nearby sprawling shopping mall.
The location is within viewing distance of Dubai’s world famous fireworks display which millions of residents and guests come to see. People in the complex were getting ready to enjoy the midnight spectacular show when the fire started sometime around 9:00 PM. People on the scene are saying they heard a loud pop (possible explosion). The fire department and emergency personnel arrived promptly to assist with slowing down the fire and any evacuations. There has been no mention of casualties the cause. As of now Dubai officials have announced that the fireworks show will continue as scheduled. This controversial decision is thought by some, to be a cautionary step to keep the crowds of peoples from leaving the area within the same time period while others are being highly critical. As the fire is spreading on the outside of the Address Hotel, there are existing internal fire safety measures inside, such as a widespread fire sprinkler system within solid masonry construction.
The following description is from BBC News:
“A huge fire has broken out in a high-rise hotel in central Dubai close to the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa.”
“Burning debris fell from the 300m-tall (1,000-feet) building as firefighters arrived at the scene. The cause of the blaze is unclear.”
“It erupted ahead of a major New Year’s Eve fireworks display, to be held at the Burj Khalifa.”
“It was not immediately clear whether there are any casualties.”
RT Breaking News is reporting the following:
“Inferno is at 63-story luxury hotel in Dubai near New Year’s Eve fireworks, that hosts the 5-star hotel is 302 meters tall and is located not far from the New Year’s Eve fireworks display.”
“It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which covered at least 20 stories of the building near the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, AP reports. ”
“Burning debris rained down from the building as firetrucks raced to the scene.”
“There are no injuries, thank God … of course, it will not affect the celebration,” Major General Rashed al-Matrushi, general director of the Dubai Civil Defence, told the Al Arabiya TV channel. ”
CNN Breaking News is reporting:
“Soon Hong, who lives in an apartment across from the mall near the Address, said he was setting up his camera near a window to capture the fireworks when he heard something that drew his attention.”
“I looked up and the entire building was in flames. It took seconds,” he said.
“Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates”
“Jonathan Gilliam, a CNN law-enforcement analyst, said he was surprised by how fast the fire spread, quickly engulfing several floors and illuminating the night sky.”
“This is looking absolutely horrific,” he said. “This is spreading very rapidly.”
On its website, the hotel says that its “spacious and bright rooms offer a dynamic sense of style and a striking design that appeals to all tastes across the international travel market.”
LAST UPDATE 1/1/16: The fire at the Address Hotel is reported to be contained. The fire had spread from the 20th floor to the 63rd floor and then down to the bottom floor. Before Dudai’s time of midnight on New Year’s Eve, there was reporting of about 14-20 injured victims. The fireworks’ displays began on time. Just after this CNN update, another explosion was heard. There is only speculation as to what caused the fire.
According to Redditt, the Address, a Dubai 63 story hotel building which became engulfed in flames on New Year’s Eve, is one of many which have an aluminium cladding material on the outside. This is typically what catches fire quickly and makes a big spectacle but the majority of the structure is concrete. This is usually why incidents like the one at the Torch (a previous hotel caught on fire) tend to have little to no casualties.
The following is a description of the effect of aluminum cladding in a previous fire as detailed in the 11/21/12 National/ UAE News article, “Cladding core holds the key to Dubai tower inferno” by Eugene Haman.
“Changes to building regulations over the years have led to potentially flammable aluminium panels being used in the UAE, although these are always subject to rigorous checks, experts say.”
“The extent of a fire nowadays might be less because the rules are much more stringent than before. It does not prevent the fire from spreading out from the facade,” said Barry Bell, the managing director of Wagner Fire Safety Management Consultants.”
“Tamweel Tower’s cladding burned downwards in the early hours of Sunday morning, making hundreds of residents homeless.”
“Rules have been tightened and safety certifications are required for all materials, including aluminium cladding, before they can be used on any building, irrespective of it being located in a free zone.”
“This year (2012), Dubai Civil Defence introduced the Fire and Life Safety code, which was rolled out nationwide in the summer.”
“Civil Defence officials in each emirate now carry out checks on residential buildings for fire hazards such as inadequate alarms systems or potentially flammable construction material that does not meet strict standards.”
“It’s not to say we are perfect. There are recent changes in codes and standards. There is an immediate response to every event that happens with immediate improvement,” Mr Bell said.”
“It is believed 70 per cent of the buildings in the UAE have some form of facade cladding that has a combustible thermo-plastic core between two sheets of aluminium.”
“If a fire spreads into the cavity of a facade, there’s potential for materials, for moisture or thermal insulation [to catch fire], it does have a tendency to become molten and drops downwards. If it starts at the top it’s very easy to spread down the cavity,” Mr Bell said.”
“In the past there was a lack of knowledge in the market that the product could burn like this. It burns extremely aggressively. The market didn’t realise it was an issue,” said Thomas Bell-Wright, chief technical officer for Thomas Bell-Wright international consultants.”
“All building materials in and outside of free zones in Dubai must be approved by the municipality.”
“S Prakash, procurement manager at Sunrays Metal Fabrication Company in Abu Dhabi, said there was a long list of approvals to go through before the company installs any cladding on buildings.”
“The material has to be pre-approved by the municipality, then the paperwork goes to the main contractor who hands it to the consultant. All papers approved by subcontractors are then resubmitted to the municipality on behalf of the consultant to get the all-clear to start building.”
This is 1/1/16 Reuters latest update as of 9:00 AM EST, ” Firefighters tackle Dubai blaze after all-night effort, investigate cause:’
“Firefighters on Friday (Thursday was their New Year’s Eve) appeared to have mostly extinguished a blaze that suddenly engulfed one of Dubai’s most prominent skyscrapers on New Year’s Eve, witnesses said.”
“Plumes of white smoke still emanated from the charred, 63-storey Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block at daybreak, but civil defense crews had mostly extinguished the flames which erupted around 2130 (1730 GMT).”
“Witnesses reported seeing flames leaping from a lower portion of the building as late as around noon local time, but a hotel spokesperson said the situation was under control.’
“The fire in the hotel has been contained. We would like to express our gratitude to the authorities for their immediate and professional support. An investigation is ongoing,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.”
“Dubai police said on Thursday that the building was evacuated and 14 people were lightly injured. A medic at the scene said more than 60 people were treated for mild smoke inhalation and problems caused by crowding as they fled.”
“The New Year’s fireworks display at the nearby Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is one of Dubai’s most celebrated annual rites and attracted thousands of spectators – most of whom were evacuated before the spectacle went on as scheduled.”
“Live TV broadcasts of the extravaganza appeared to show only a few dozen people in the vast viewing venue near the tower.”