Saturday 10 December 2016

'It was the only way of getting out' - Son straps disabled mother to his back to escape Dubai fire

Published 01/01/2016 | 12:51

Smoke billows from the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates today (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
Smoke billows from the Address Downtown skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates today (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)
The scene in Dubai this evening
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
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
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
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
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
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
A fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates December 31, 2015
People run away after the burning The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates December 31, 2015
A fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates December 31, 2015
People run away as a fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates December 31
People run away as a fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates December 31
A fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates December 31, 2015

A brave son saved his mother from the towering Dubai inferno on New Year's Eve by strapping her to his back and carrying her out.

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British man Angus Villar told Sky News that it was the "only way" to get his disabled mother out of the building safely.

"‘I was on the 15th floor in the kitchen opening some champagne.  My father went out onto the balcony and came back and screamed 'the hotel is on fire'".

"There were five of us… My mother, I strapped her to my back, it was the only way of getting out of the building. It was utter pandemonium".

He told Sky News that people were "shoving each other down the stairs and climbing over each other" to get out of the building.

"You'd expect people to let women and children go first, but it was pretty much people shoving each other down the stairs and climbing over each other"

"There were a lot of hotel staff directing people to various exits and stuff, but there was no clarity about what happened."

"We’re definitely still in a state of alarm".

Villar explained that he "only took my valuables, i.e my phone... and my mother".

Fourteen people were injured in the fire, with one suffering a heart attack during an evacuation.

The fire broke out at Address Downtown Hotel around 9.30pm local time on New Year's Eve, just three hours before the New Year's Eve fireworks were due to begin at the nearby Burj Khalifa skyscraper.

Around 1million people had gathered to watch Dubai's award-winning fireworks show from the skyscraper.

People ran to safety inside a nearby mall when the blaze erupted. The fire affected at least twenty stories of the hotel.

Firefighters fought the blaze for more than twelve hours, which eventually burned out this morning. PA reports that they "largely watched the fire from the ground, unable at one point to use a water hose on a ladder truck".

Major General Rashed al-Matrushi, general director of the Dubai Civil Defence, said last night that the blaze "will not affect the celebration". He was speaking on a Sky News live broadcast.

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