Dozens of people have been injured after a huge fire broke out in the early hours today at a police headquarters in Egypt’s northeastern province of Ismailia. According to state media, the blaze has since been contained after raging for several hours. The cause of the fire is currently unknown and the government is yet to comment.
No fatalities were reported, although the Health Ministry said at least 38 people were injured. BBC News reports that there are fears that the number of injured could be higher, citing an Egyptian journalist as saying there could also be fatalities given the size of the fire.
Footage of the police complex engulfed in flames has circulated on social media, some of which showed individuals trapped inside, calling for help from the windows.
— Breaking news 24/7 (@aliifil1) October 2, 2023
Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, said 12 of the injured were treated at the site, while 26 others were taken to hospitals, all but two were treated for asphyxiation along with two for burns. Seven of the injured were treated and discharged, he said.
Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfik has ordered an investigation into the causes of the fire, as well as a “structural safety review” for the building, his ministry said in a statement.
The outbreaks of deadly fires are not uncommon in Egypt, where safety standards and fire regulations are poorly enforced. Last year there were more than 49,300 fires in the country which resulted in 203 deaths and injuries to 855 people, according to the country’s official statistics agency.