Smoke and flames were still pouring from The Address Hotel in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, but it was decided the show must go on, and New Year's Eve fireworks soared from the city's downtown core.
Despite the fire reaching at least 20 storeys up the side of the 63-storey luxury hotel, Dubai's Media Office tweeted that the New Year celebrations at the nearby Burj Khalifa tower would go on.
Photos and videos were posted on Twitter of the fireworks show.
Many online expressed exasperation and confusion at the decision to continue the year-end celebration.
Perplexed that 63-floor Dubai high rise is engulfed in flames w/explosions, yet nearby "world's biggest fireworks" still on. #priorities— @ToniRuberto
Officials said that one person had a heart attack and more than 14 have been injured during the hotel's evacuation, though the Reuters news agency was told by a medic on the scene that more than 60 people have minor injuries.
Some said the celebration was an insult to the people suffering from the tragedy.
There's something legitimately disturbing about people cheering for those fireworks in Dubai when there's a raging inferno down the road— @IWearAKilt
No, Dubai. It is insensitive and superficial to launch fireworks whilst a huge fire burns in the same city. I don't care what day it is.— @horizons80
That didn't stop others from appreciating the display as fireworks erupted from around the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥Dubai fireworks 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻❤️❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/RZClMCz657— @Curate_Angola
Some saw the fireworks as a sign of the city's resilience.
The contrast between the celebration and the hotel's calamity led a man to reflect on the nature of the city itself.
Dubai proves it's a stage show that must go on. Make belief fireworks scream on while a real fire mocks the fantasy on foundations of sand.— @salmanAraja