ABU DHABI - A major fire broke out on Tuesday in a residential and commercial district of the United Arab Emirates' capital, witnesses said, but there was no immediate report of casualties.

The blaze was in a 25-storey building under construction beside the Rotana Beach Hotel and the Abu Dhabi Mall, emergency workers said.

Witnesses said hundreds of labourers were evacuated from the building site and a security official at the hotel said guests and staff were also evacuated as a precaution. "The fire took place at the building which is in the final stages of construction," a technician with the Ghantoot Group which is undertaking the project told AFP.

An inquiry had begun into the fire, which later broke out again in the lower part of the building, an AFP correspondent said. Emergency services were still battling the blaze by nightfall.

Abu Dhabi has experienced a real estate boom in recent years, as has the neighbouring emirate of Dubai where several fires have hit high-profile buildings.

In July, fire ripped through a 75-storey apartment block in Dubai Marina, with no casualties reported, but last New Year's Eve 16 people were injured in a huge blaze at the luxury Address Downtown Hotel.