New Year’s Eve

It’s highly unlikely any of you missed this, but on New Year’s Eve there was a massive fire in Dubai.  It was at The Address Downtown.

I had been invited to a house party at my very good friend’s beautiful apartment which happens to be a block away from The Address.  We were all sat on the balcony chatting away, when we saw what we thought to be smoke across our view of the Burj.  We laughed it off because so many times people have reported fire at the Burj Khalifa, when it’s just been a cloud.  But then there was a very bright orange flame shoot out of the hotel.

We stopped laughing.  We stood in silence.  We watched.  We prayed.

It was horrific to see.

This beautiful building which has been such a huge part of my Downtown Dubai experience, was being eaten by fire.  Terrifyingly quickly too.

The Boy and I stood watching as the flames licked the exact spot we had been on Christmas day.  It was chilling, and we took a moment to thank the universe for our blessings, and each other.

We could see the people flooding out of the hotel towards the heavily crowded streets of the Boulevard, and wondered just where on earth everyone was going to fit.

We watched as the emergency services battled through the roads, with idiotic humans not moving out of their way quickly enough.

I would at this point like to say that we have nothing but respect for the emergency services.  They arrived as quickly as possible and they did everything they could.  There have been many pictures circulating on t’internet of fire fighters napping on the side of the road, using the curb for a pillow.  This really did happen.  They didn’t leave and go home.  They napped to get enough energy to fight some more.

Also, and what has been overlooked somewhat, is the response of the hotel.  They evacuated a +300m tall building which was no doubt packed to capacity due to the excellent view of the Burj Khalifa and the fireworks, quickly and efficiently.  No one was hurt by the fire.  That is an amazing feat and they should be applauded.

I am so pleased that people were well out of the way by the time the explosions started.  I have no idea what they were, but they were always followed by more flames, so assume it had reached a gas container, or the cleaning supplies cupboards or something.  Or maybe one of the bars.  I don’t know.  It was a little unnerving, but again, everyone was out and the fire service were on the scene.

The other unnerving thing was watching bits of burning debris float off and set fire to the surrounding buildings.  Again, the fire service were right on top of it, fighting where ever a new fire broke out.  It also, typically, was windy so their jobs were made harder still.  They must have been exhausted.

Midnight was fast approaching and the building still was shooting flames out at a great rate.  It was in fact only minutes before midnight that the last explosion happened.  We were convinced that the fireworks from the Burj Khalifa would have been cancelled or rescheduled.  We felt bad for those displaced by the fire, for ourselves as literally none of us had ever seen them before, but also for the little dudes who spent 6 months getting everything designed and installed for the display.  It must have been extra hard on them.

But, as the seconds ticked down the approach of midnight, the Burj lit up.  You should have heard the roar of the crowds.  It was deafening even 9 floors up!

There has been wide spread criticism of the decision to continue with the fireworks, but I think it was the right decision to make.  Downtown was absolute chaos.  There was an estimated 1.5million people in the area, all who had come to see the fireworks.  The emergency services had more than enough to cope with, without adding a stampede of angry people that they had been waiting all day to see a display that didn’t happen.

So they went ahead and they were beautiful.  The one outstanding moment, which I didn’t quite manage to catch on camera was the UAE Flag in fireworks, shooting out of the top of the building as the finale!  It was so cool I don’t even have words!

Here are a few pics of the fireworks in case you missed them!





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