Dubai firm pledges to restore gutted luxury hotel

Property developer Emaar says the Address Downtown will be restored "to all its glory" after New Years Eve fire.

    Emaar Properties, the Dubai property developer, has promised to restore its luxury 63-storey hotel which was damaged in a huge fire on New Year's Eve.

    The fire erupted before the city's fireworks extravaganza and engulfed the Address Downtown, comprising hotels and residences in Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.

    "We are determined to restore it to all its glory, and even surpass the splendid architectural standards," Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, announced on Friday, but did not give any information on the cause of the fire.

    "Further timelines and plans will be shared as they are finalised."

    At least 14 people were slightly injured, one was moderately injured and one person suffered a heart attack during the evacuation, authorities said.

    Firefighters spent Thursday night trying to extinguish the blaze.

    Authorities in Dubai said on Friday they were working to determine the cause of the fire.

    "Security services are investigating the causes and circumstances of the fire," they said.

    Despite the fire, officials went ahead with plans to ring in the new year and thousands gathered in the area to watch the fireworks.

    The Address Downtown would have been a prime spot for viewing the midnight fireworks display, centred at the nearby Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.

    The tower boasted a luxury hotel with nearly 200 rooms, along with more than 600 residential units.

    Rentals of a one-bedroom in the building can run $70,000 a year.

    Dubai and neighbouring emirates in the UAE have faced a series of fires in highrise buildings  [AP]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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