Deadly Cairo hospital fire caused by short circuit kills 3, injures 32

Children at orphanage in the hospital's complex evacuated and unharmed

Egyptian security forces form a cordon outside Al Nour Al Mohammady hospital in Cairo after a fire broke out on February 1, 2023. AFP
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Police officials said on Thursday that a preliminary investigation showed the hospital fire in Cairo that killed three people the previous day was caused by an electrical short circuit and the subsequent explosion of an oxygen tank.

The Health Ministry said another 32 people were injured in the fire, which started in the radiology department of Al Nour Al Mohammady hospital in the Matariyah district in the eastern part of the Egyptian capital.

The three people died of smoke inhalation after they were trapped in the hospital's pharmacy, the ministry said.

Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said the injured suffered burns, fractures and smoke inhalation and were transferred to other hospitals in Cairo.

The hospital complex in Cairo's Matariyah district included a mosque and an orphanage. AFP

The police officials said the three-storey hospital also had a mosque and an orphanage. The children in the orphanage were moved to safety soon after the fire broke out and were unharmed.

Egypt has a poor record of fire regulations, with many of its public facilities lacking properly signed and clear emergency exits, have faulty wiring or don’t regularly carry out fire drills.

Access by fire engines to places where fires break out can also problematic in densely populated Cairo and other major cities where the streets are too narrow for fire engines to enter.

A 2020 fire in an intensive care unit at a private hospital in Cairo killed seven coronavirus patients.

Last August, a fire at a church in a low-income neighbourhood in Giza killed 44 worshippers who were trapped inside one of the chapels. During the same month, several other churches witnessed fires.

Updated: February 02, 2023, 2:19 PM