A massive fire has overtaken a hotel in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, just hours before a New Year’s Eve fireworks display.
The fire erupted in the Address Downtown hotel in Dubai, where people had gathered to watch the fireworks. The 63-story hotel is close to the world-famous Burj Khalifa, the largest skyscraper in the world. The fire appears to have broken out around 10 p.m. local time.
Twitter posts from a woman whose profile says she hails from Toronto show spectators streaming away from the massive blaze.
She and a friend can be heard expressing their horror as they watch the flames engulf the tower.
Dubai officials on social media have said emergency responders are on scene. They say the fire broke out on the 20th floor.
Local media report as many as two million people were expected downtown in Dubai to celebrate the start of 2016.
The tower is completely covered in flames in myriad videos posted to social media. Burning debris “rained down” from the tower onto nearby buildings and possibly spectators, the Associated Press reports.
It is not immediately clear if there are any injuries, but a Reuters report, citing Al Arabiya, cites a local official in reporting no injuries. The report also suggests fireworks will go ahead as planned.
— more to come