Dubai: Two bartenders have been accused of inflicting severe burns to three clubbers after their flair tricks with a bottle of alcohol caused massive flames at a five-star hotel.
The bartenders, 47-year-old South African P.E. and 22-year-old Czech M.K., were entertaining clubbers and performing bartending flair tricks when a bottle suddenly exploded and went up in flames.
The fire inflicted severe bodily burns to three clubbers, a French and a British woman and an Egyptian man, who happened to be beside the bar, according to records.
P.E. and M.K. denied the accusations and pleaded not guilty when they appeared before the Dubai Misdemeanour Court on Sunday.
Prosecutors said the defendants mistakenly caused bodily injuries and burns to the three clubbers when P.E. added a drink to the bottle as part of the flair-bartending show that immediately exploded and went up in flames. The Egyptian man told prosecutors that as soon as the sleeves of his shirt were on fire, another clubber helped him rip it off quickly.
Dubai Police’s forensic doctors said the Egyptian man suffered skin burns in his trunk and neck. The British woman suffered second degree body burns in her face, neck and trunk.
“I was at the club in Jumeirah when the incident happened. The bartenders were performing some flair tricks with  bottles. I was standing beside the bar when one of them added [liquid] to the other bottle that had a flame on its opening as part of their tricks. Suddenly the flame raged and leaped into a bigger flair… four or five of us were injured,” the French woman testified.
The Egyptian testified that he felt something reaching his arm while he was speaking to his friend near the bar. “At first I thought it was a cigarette… then I realised that the flame was reaching my arm and sleeve quickly. The flames burnt my face, chest and neck. A clubber helped me tear my shirt and undress it quickly… then I was rushed to hospital for treatment. Doctors told me I sustained second degree skin burns,” he claimed.
The Czech bartender told prosecutors it was not his first time performing such tricks.
“I was speaking to a clubber when I heard the flair raged. Then I saw the fire extending to the victims. I did not ask him to add rum as I had finished the entertainment show. I have performed such tricks before and I never had any accident as such,” he said.
One of the victims is seeking Dh21,000 in compensation.
A verdict will be heard later this month.