Massive fire strikes oil pipeline on major Cairo highway
The fire, on the side of a motorway, ignited after a spark caused by cars driving by triggered crude that was leaking from the pipe, Egypt’s petroleum ministry said.
Videos that emerged online showed thick black smoke billowing from the scene, where a number of cars caught on fire. Witnesses said more than 20 cars were torched and abandoned.
Authorities swiftly moved to close off the area and brought the glaze under control, the ministry statement added, noting an investigation has been launched.
The crude pipeline runs from the Red Sea oil port of Shuqair to the refinery complex of Mostorod in Greater Cairo, Reuters reported.
Egyptian authorities are lax in their enforcement of safety standards and fire regulations, with weak adherence to existing rules a culprit in many deaths.
Last month, at least seven Covid-19 patients died in a fire which broke out in the isolation ward of a private hospital in the coastal Egyptian city of Alexandria, according to the country's public prosecutor.
Preliminary reports suggested an electric short-circuit sparked the blaze, which began after an air-conditioner unit exploded.
Nurses rushed to the scene and found patients in the intensive care unit overcome by clouds of smoke. Six men and one woman died, according to Governor Mohamed El-Sharif
"The fire was huge, and none of the workers could have contained the situation because of its swift spread" the Badrawy Hospital said in a statement, posted on social media.
One patient was injured in the fire and the rest were evacuated to another medical facility in the city, it was reported.
Firefighters doused the charred remains of ventilators, beds, and other medical supplies in the ward so that the blaze would not spread to other parts of the hospital.
A similar fire swept through a coronavirus isolation centre in the capital Cairo the month prior, though no casualties were reported.