A huge fire that erupted at a police complex in the Egyptian city of Ismailia and wounded at least 38 people has been contained after several hours, according to state media.
No fatalities were immediately reported over the blaze that happened early on Monday, but hospitals were placed on alert.
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The cause of the blaze, which broke out at the headquarters of the Ismailia Security Directorate before dawn, is not yet known.
Of 26 wounded who were transferred to a local hospital, 24 had suffered from “asphyxiation” and two from burns, local media reported citing the health ministry.
Videos on social media showed flames soaring from the city’s security directorate early, and it appeared the building’s main facade had collapsed.
Translation: A huge fire engulfs the Ismailia Security Directorate.
The health ministry deployed 50 ambulances to the scene, which were joined by military emergency services including two planes, according to state media.
Later on Monday, state television announced that the fire was contained.
Sara Kira, the founder and director of the European North African Center for Research, said Egyptians were wary of possible attacks before the presidential polls in December 2023.
“We do not want any turbulence before the elections,” she told Al Jazeera from Cairo.
Hopefully it is not the start of something ugly, but just an accident, she said.
Deadly fires are a common hazard in Egypt, where many buildings are dilapidated and poorly maintained.
In August 2022, a fire caused by a short circuit killed 41 worshippers in a Cairo church, prompting calls to improve the country’s infrastructure and the response time of the fire brigade.
In March 2021, at least 20 people died in a fire at a textile factory in the capital, while in 2020, two hospital fires killed fourteen people.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies