Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Scores Injured in Massive Downtown Cairo Fire | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Egyptian riot police in Cairo. Reuters

A massive fire engulfed a hotel and several adjacent buildings in downtown Cairo early Monday, leaving at least 74 people injured, Egypt’s ambulance services said.

No deaths were reported and most of the victims had breathing difficulties and suffered bruises, the Ambulance Authority said.

Half of the people were treated at the site and the rest were taken to nearby hospitals.

The cause of the blaze in the busy low-price commercial area of Ataba, which took six hours to douse, was not immediately known and a probe was launched by the authorities.

The fire started shortly after midnight inside the six-story Hotel Andalusia in the populous and dilapidated neighborhood.

The flames quickly spread to at least three nearby buildings, including a depot, according to an Interior Ministry statement carried by the state-run MENA news agency.

As hotel guests were being evacuated and fire engines arrived at the scene, the blaze engulfed dozens of stalls belonging to street vendors and small shops along the street.

Firefighters from atop cranes struggled for hours to extinguish the blaze. Some smashed through windows to bring fire hoses into the buildings and to the upper floors. Vendors scaled balconies to climb inside the warehouse to salvage their merchandise.

Similar incidents are common in Egypt as a result of bad maintenance and the failure to abide by safety standards.