CAIRO – A huge fire broke out early Monday at a police facility in northeastern Egypt, injuring at least 38 people before firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze several hours later, authorities said.
The cause of the fire, which ripped through the multistory police headquarters in the Suez Canal province of Ismailia, was not immediately clear.
Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfiq, whose ministry oversees police forces, rushed to the site in the city of Ismailia, about 125 kilometers (77 miles) northeast of Cairo. He said a committee was set up to investigate the fire.
Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, said in a statement that 12 of the injured were treated at the site, while 26 others were taken to hospitals. All but two suffered from breathing difficulties; seven of the injured were treated and discharged, he said.
It was not immediately clear how many police were in the building at the time. Local media reported that the police building was severely damaged in the blaze.
Videos circulating on social media shows flames and black smoke pouring out of the building. The state-run MENA news agency said firefighters managed to put out the fire after several hours.
Safety standards and fire regulations are poorly enforced in Egypt and have been linked to many deaths. In August 2022, a fire at a packed Coptic Orthodox church during morning services in Cairo killed 41 worshippers in what was one of Egypt’s deadliest fires in recent years.
Last year, there were more than 49,300 fires in Egypt, resulting in 203 deaths and injuries to 855 people, according to the country’s official statistics agency.