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Egypt: Regional police HQ fire in Ismailia leaves 38 injured

The building was fully staffed at the time of the fire, and there are concerns the numbers of injured could rise
A view of efforts to douse a fire that broke out at a police facility, in Ismailia, Egypt, October 2, 2023 in this screen grab obtained from social media video (MIMI EROQ/REUTERS)
The fire that broke out at a police headquarters, Ismailia, Egypt, 2 October, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video (Mimi Eroq/Reuters)

A fire tore through a regional police facility in Egypt’s northeastern city of Ismailia on Monday, leaving 38 people injured.

Videos circulating on social media revealed the multistorey building, one of the city’s largest, engulfed in flames and thick black smoke, with individuals calling for help from the inside. 

No fatalities have been reported despite the building reportedly being fully staffed with policemen at the time of the incident.

The fire was extinguished within a few hours of the firefighters’ arrival on site, with 50 ambulances and two military helicopters deployed, according to local media. 

Of the 26 wounded who were transferred to a local hospital, 24 had suffered from “asphyxiation” and two from burns, the health ministry reported. Twelve more were treated at the scene.

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It remains unclear what caused the blaze. The interior minister has ordered a full investigation.

Deadly fires are common in Egypt, with poorly enforced fire codes and slow emergency response times linked to deaths.

In August 2022, 41 worshippers, including 14 children, were killed after a fire caused by a short circuit ripped through a packed Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo.

Relatives of the victims accused the authorities of a slow response, claiming that the deaths were preventable.

According to the country's official statistics agency, there were more than 49,000 fires in Egypt last year, killing 203 people and injuring 855.

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