A major fire on the Cairo-Ismailia highway that left 18 people injured and blazed 37 vehicles on Tuesday was caused by a crack in the Shokier-Mostorod oil pipeline, Egypt’s prosecutor-general said in a statement.
Egyptian police was informed about a petroleum leak on the desert road under El-Salam bridge and investigators discovered upon their arrival at the site that a crack in the pipeline owned by the state-run Petroleum Pipelines Company led to the leakage to the main road, the statement read on Wednesday.
Fire broke out as police forces attempted to stop the leakage using sand barrier blocks. The fire soon spread to the source of the outflow, sending sheets of flames into the air, injuring people and torching cars and motorcycles.
Traces of digging had been discovered at the point of the leakage in the ruptured pipeline as well as a cut in the pipeline’s insulation, the statement added.
Survivors of the fire, as well as officials from the petroleum company, were questioned.
The Petroleum Pipelines Company denied there was recent digging, adding that it had merely carried out regular maintenance for the pipeline.
The prosecution said it had commissioned both a number of engineers from the interior ministry’s traffic department to examine torched car and available footage of the accident, as well as a committee of engineering professors and specialists from the Civil Protection Department to examine the pipeline in order to determine if the blaze was caused by foul play, negligence in maintenance or errors of surrounding construction work.