Filipino photographer survives hotel tower fire
A Filipino photojournalist was trapped inside the burning The Address Downtown Hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve, a report by the Khaleej Times said.
Dennis Mallari, who was working for a Dubai newspaper, was stranded at the balcony of the hotel’s 48th floor, the report said. Mallari and a colleague had been given access to the hotel’s top floors to take photos of the fireworks display at the nearby Burj Khalifa.
“I was busy clicking pictures when my colleague suddenly screamed that there was a fire,” Mallari was quoted as saying. “I looked around, trying to understand the situation. By this time, I realized my colleague had run away.”
Mallari said he started gathering his things and attempted to vacate the hotel, but the “thick and black” smoke made him run back to the balcony.
“I had no option but to stand there waiting for help,” he said.
Noting that not many people were on the same floor with him when the blaze started, Mallari called the police and informed them that he was stuck in one of the top floors.
“I don’t know how long I stood there waiting to be rescued,” he said. “Finally the Civil Defense reached me using a ladder.”
Mallari was rescued unharmed, but was treated for smoke inhalation.
The report also quoted the photojournalist’s wife as saying that Mallari had called her and said he would make a rope out of the bed sheets to escape from the balcony.
“I was so worried for him. He said there was a lot of smoke in there and he had been stuck for quite a long time,” Mallari’s wife said.
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