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Pinoy photojournalist survives Dubai hotel fire

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino photojournalist was among those who survived the massive fire that razed the 63-story Address Downtown Dubai Hotel on New Year’s Eve.

At least 14 people were treated for minor injuries, including Filipino photojournalist Dennis Borja Mallari. An elderly man suffered a heart attack and died due to smoke inhalation, reports said.

Mallari was trapped on the balcony of the 48th floor of five-star hotel when the fire broke out. He was among the photographers assigned by a local daily to cover the fireworks of Address Downtown for the New Year’s Eve.

Mallari was retrieved by a rescue worker and treated for smoke inhalation.

The Dubai government’s media office said all residents of the hotel were evacuated.

“So far we have not received report of Filipinos affected by fire in Dubai,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said yesterday.

Mallari narrated to Khaleej Times in Dubai how he was able to survive the ordeal.

“I was busy clicking pictures when my colleague suddenly screamed that there was a fire,” Mallari said.

“I looked around, trying to understand the situation. By this time I saw my colleague had run away,” he said.

Mallari said he started to gather his belongings but was overwhelmed by thick smoke when he started to leave the area.

“The smoke was so thick and black that I almost choked. I then ran back to the balcony and stood there,” he said. “I had no option but to stand there waiting for help.”

Mallari said he called the police and told them that he was stuck on the upper floors of the hotel.

“I don’t know how long I stood there waiting to be rescued,” Mallari said.

“Finally, the Civil Defense (a local rescue paramedic) reached me using the ladder,” he added.                                            

A FILIPINO ACIRC ADDRESS DOWNTOWN ADDRESS DOWNTOWN DUBAI HOTEL CHARLES JOSE CIVIL DEFENSE DENNIS BORJA MALLARI DUBAI MALLARI NBSP NEW YEAR
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