Dubai hotel fire: Police investigate photo which may show start of blaze

'From here investigation begins'

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The Independent Online

Dubai police have said they are investigating a photograph which may help determine the cause of a fire that engulfed one of the city’s most prominent skyscrapers.

The photograph, taken by a forensic photographer and posted on Twitter by Dhahi Khalfan, from Dubai police, appears to show a ball of fire at the base of the 302m Address building before a blaze erupted at 9:30pm on Thursday.

Security officials said the conflagration began on the outside of the structure at the 20th floor.

The deputy chief of police said an investigation into the cause of the fire was underway, which would include the photograph.

Mr Khalfan said: “A forensic photographer from the Dubai police captures the beginning of the fire with the lens of his camera, from here investigation begins.”

Astonishingly no one appears to have died in the blaze in which 14 people were lightly injured, according to Dubai police.

A medic at the scene, however, said more than 60 people were treated for mild smoke inhalation and problems caused by crowding as they fled the site.

A Filipino photographer said he survived the blaze by scaling down the building on a window-washer's cable after he became trapped on a balcony 48 stories from the ground, CNN reports.

Dennis Mallari was planning to shoot pictures of the New Year’s Eve fireworks from the balcony, but found himself metres away from violent flames as the fire blazed along the building.

After becoming trapped for two hours the 37-year-old grappled down the skyscraper where he was rescued by fire-fighters and given oxygen.

"If I go there, inside to try to go exit, I'm not going to die because of the fire," he told CNN. "I got scared. I prayed. If this is my last chance, then so be it."

Firefighters on Friday appeared to have mostly extinguished the blaze, however plumes of white smoke could still be seen from the charred 63-storey hotel at daybreak.

Although the hotel is next to the city's fireworks celebrations, no fireworks had been set off at the time of the fire.

The Address hotel is the sixth-tallest building in the city, with 63 floors at 991 feet tall. It has nearly 200 rooms and over 600 apartments.

Additional reporting by Reuters