As many as 38 people were left wounded as a result of a massive fire that engulfed a police facility in the Egyptian Suez Canal city of Ismailia early Monday before firefighters contained the blaze after hours, according to security sources.
Although there were no early reports of casualties, hospitals were put on notice and the facility is always manned by soldiers. Smoke could be seen billowing from the completely burned multi-story skyscraper in local television footage.
According to AFP, the cause of the blaze, which broke out at the headquarters of the Directorate of Security before dawn, is not yet known.
The flames were contained after multiple fire trucks rushed to the scene, the report said.
Of 26 wounded who were transferred to a local hospital, 24 had suffered from "asphyxiation" and two from burns, the health ministry reported, while 12 more were treated at the scene.
The health ministry deployed 50 ambulances to the scene, which were joined by military emergency services including two planes, according to local media.
Major General Mahmoud Tawfiq, Egypt's interior minister, stated that he was monitoring the firefighting efforts and determining the conditions of the people and officers who were inside the building when the fire broke out.
An investigation has been launched to find out the cause behind the fire and how it spread so quickly, Al Arabiya reported. Meanwhile, videos and photos circulating on social media showed the fire raging across several floors of the building.
Deadly fires are a common hazard in Egypt, where fire codes are rarely enforced and emergency services are often slow to arrive.
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 14 people.
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