Firefighters tackle Dubai blaze after all-night effort, investigate cause

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Dubai Probes New Year's Eve Hotel Fire

DUBAI (Reuters) - Firefighters on Friday 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-story Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block at daybreak, but civil defense crews had mostly extinguished the flames which erupted around 2130 (1730 GMT).

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63-story fire in Dubai on New Year's Eve
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Firefighters tackle Dubai blaze after all-night effort, investigate cause
A fire runs up some 20 stories of a building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. The fire broke out Thursday in a residential building near Dubai's massive New Year's Eve fireworks display. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire near the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper at 828 meters (905 yards). (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
People watch as flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire, with the cause of the blaze still unknown according to the emirate's police chief. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
This image taken from AP video shows smoke and flames pouring from a residential building, which also contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday evening, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
Smoke and flames pouring from a residential building, which also contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday evening, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Smoke and flames pouring from a residential building, which also contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday evening, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
This image taken from AP video shows smoke and flames pouring from a residential building, which also contains the Address Downtown Hotel, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday evening, Dec. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people watching the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people watching the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
People watch smoke from a fire that ripped through the Address Downtown hotel, billowing past the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower in Dubai on December 31, 2015. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke from a fire that ripped through the Address Downtown hotel, billows past the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower in Dubai on December 31, 2015. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people watching the Address Downtown hotel burning after huge fire ripped through the luxury hotel near the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire without causing casualties, according to authorities. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire, with the cause of the blaze still unknown according to the emirate's police chief. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire, with the cause of the blaze still unknown according to the emirate's police chief. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A man takes a selfie as flames rip through the Address Downtown hotel after it was hit by a massive fire, near the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, on December 31, 2015. People were gathering to watch New Year's Eve celebrations when the hotel caught on fire, with the cause of the blaze still unknown according to the emirate's police chief. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB / AFP / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A fire burns in the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The blaze began Thursday night before Dubai's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show at the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building which sits nearby. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A fire burns in the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The blaze began Thursday night before Dubai's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show at the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building which sits nearby. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Smoke billows from the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The blaze began Thursday night before Dubai's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show at the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building which sits nearby. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
A fire burns on the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The blaze began Thursday night before Dubai's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show at the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building which sits nearby. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Smoke billows from the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The blaze began Thursday night before Dubai's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show at the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building which sits nearby. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
Firefighters spray water on a fire burning in the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. The blaze began Thursday night before Dubai's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show at the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building which sits nearby. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
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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.

Dubai, among the most open and peaceful cities in the war-battered Middle East, prides itself as a tourist and business hub.

But the metropolis, one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), may face questions about the safety of its rapidly-constructed cityscape, especially after another high-rise building caught fire earlier this year.

Security officials said the conflagration began on the outside of the structure at the 20th floor, and the deputy chief of police said the investigation into its cause was underway.

Dhahi Khalfan posted a picture of a fireball toward the hotel's base on his official twitter account on Friday.

"A forensic photographer from the Dubai police with the lens of his camera, from here the investigation begins," he said.

Watch more coverage:

People Run to Safety to Escape Dubai Hotel Fire

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