A fire erupted at a crude oil pipeline by the Cairo-Ismailiya highway on Tuesday afternoon, lasting for several hours and injuring 17 people, according to the Egyptian health ministry.
The fire erupted due to a break in the Shokeir-Mostorod oil pipeline, which passes close to the Cairo-Ismailiya highway. According to a statement by the petroleum ministry, a spark set alight crude oil that was leaking from the pipeline.
The authorities closed the highway and police have asked people to avoid the highway.
Videos showing huge plumes of black smoke went viral on social media networks.
According to Cairo’s Governor Khaled Abdallah, 20 fire engines from civil protection in Cairo and Ismailiya governorates, eight fire engines from the Egyptian armed forces and six other fire engines participated in putting out the fire.
Fifteen ambulances were dispatched to the scene to transport the injured, who were suffering from burns and breathing difficulties, to nearby hospitals.
The governor said that the fire had destroyed 31 cars and a car dealership located by the highway.
The prosecution has opened an investigation into the incident.
The head of the oil pipelines company Emad Abdel-Qader told a Salet El-Tahrir TV programme on Sada El-Balad channel that there were initial indications that an external party had caused the damage, but that that had not been confirmed.