Smoke billows from the Address Hotel even as cooling operations continued until Friday evening.
Dubai - The fire lasted for almost 14 hours and damaged many rooms.
A fire that started hours before the much-awaited fireworks of the Burj Khalifa, took almost 14 hours to be contained, said Major-General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, director general of Dubai Civil Defence, who supervised the firefighting operation. He said the security authorities concerned in Dubai are investigating the cause of the fire that broke out in the Address Hotel in Dubai on Thursday.
Major-General Al Matroushi said that the fire broke out at 9.26pm on the 20th floor and quickly spread up wards to the 60th floor. The elevators were stopped due to the raging fire and therefore the firefighters had to use stairs to go up to the 60th floor to bring the fire in control, he said.
He confirmed that no helicopters were used to extinguish the fire as already the strong winds were making it difficult to bring the fire under control, and the presence of helicopters would add to fanning the fire.
The fire lasted for almost 14 hours and damaged many rooms of the five-star hotel, however, the police rescue teams managed to evacuate the hotel and cordoned off the area around the hotel. The cooling operations were on until Friday evening, after which the forensic experts will take over the tower to investigate the exact cause of the fire.
How they braved the fire
Firefighters from six fire stations braved the blaze and managed to contain it by morning. Firefighters from four stations were already on standby in the Downtown area due to the New Year celebrations, therefore they responded quickly to the distress call from the hotel.
He said the firefighters were divided into four teams - one to fight the blaze, second one was in charge of evacuating the hotel, third team offered logistics support and the fourth team was ensuring people did not panic.
The civil defence stations used foam and water in putting out the fire and fire brigades from other emirates also participated in the cooling operations. As smoke was spotted even during the day, fire brigades and teams continued to supply water tanks all day on Friday, according to the spokesperson of the Dubai Civil Defense, Mahmood Hamad.
Firefighters from all Dubai Civil Defence Stations participated in the operation and contained the massive blaze under the supervision of Major Ali Hussan Al Mutwa, director of operation, and Major Hussien Al Rahomi, director of civil defence centres. The firefighters ensured that no one was left trapped in the hotel, Al Matroushi said.
The Crisis and Disaster Management Committee, headed by Major-General Khamis Matar Al Mazeina, the Commander-in-chief of the Dubai Police, played a pivotal role in coordinating efforts to deal with the accident, preventing the fire from spreading to neighbouring buildings and thereby minimising damage and ensuring public safety. According to Al Mazeina, 14 people sustained light to moderate injuries while one case of an elderly suffering heart attack was reported.
"All injured were moved to the hospital and discharged later after receiving medical care, except for two cases of a pregnant woman and an aged man, whose condition is stable," he said.
Alternate residences provided to hotel guests
The Government of Dubai provided alternate residences to the guests of the Address Hotel who were evacuated immediately after the fire broke out. Following the news of the fire, the Dubai Media Office, under the directives of its Director-General, Mona Al Marri, established a liaison with the Dubai Police and Civil Defence to update the public about the firefighting progress.
They have also established a hotline through the hotel management to provide the guests and residents with all support and to answer their queries.
Fire safety in Dubai
> All hotels in Dubai have safety features and majority of the high-rise buildings in the city are linked to a 24/7 control system, which monitors and identifies faults in alarm systems.
>The alert systems in high-rise buildings, sprinklers and safety equipment all help to make the exercise of firefighting easier.
>The civil defence has launched 'live safety dashboard' system, which provides real-time information on fires and faulty safety systems in both residential and commercial buildings.
> The system helps in fire response planning and in decision-making as it identifies zones where the majority of fires occur.
> The system has so far been connected to more than 40,000 buildings thousands of building are linked to the Dubai Civil Defense operation rooms.
> All hotels in Dubai have fire safety systems which are based on the hotel sizes and specifications.