A Medicine Hat musician on vacation in Dubai was supposed to have dinner at The Address Hotel on New Year's Eve before it was destroyed in a massive fire.

MacKenzie Porter and her family shopped in a mall connected to the hotel just hours before the fire. They were woken up from a nap by a concierge at their own hotel alerting them to the incident.

"All we could see was orange red fire burning up the side of the building and pieces flying down and black smoke surrounding the entire building," said Porter in a phone interview with CBC News.

The fire reached at least 20 stories up the side of the 63-storey luxury hotel.

Down on the street, Porter says it was a "hectic" scene as thousands of people gathered, taking photo and videos of the burning building.

The hotel is just a five minute walk from Porter's hotel and caught fire just hours before a large New Year's Eve fireworks display was set to start.

Porter says her family was surprised the fireworks went ahead as scheduled.

Officials said that one person had a heart attack and more than a dozen were injured during the hotel's evacuation.

The family will be in Dubai for two more days before heading to India.

MacKenzie Porter Dubai hotel fire

MacKenzie Porter says thousands of people gathered to watch and take photos of the hotel as it burned. (MacKenzie Porter )