General Prosecution office (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt’s Public Prosecution announced on Tuesday that it ordered the arrest and detention of the Giza building owner pending investigations as his 13-storey building in Giza, located near the Ring Road burns for the fourth day in a row and as a result engulfed the structure.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, the Public Prosecution stated that it received on 30 January a report that a fire took place in a building at Kerdasa district, Giza governorate.
The Prosecution stated that the fire originated at a shoe warehouse in the building’s basement and that when the prosecutor arrived at the scene, the fire continued to engulf the building which made the inspection impossible.
The statement also added that the fire destroyed the main pillars of the building.
The Prosecution dispatched several experts for the inspection of the building; including experts from the forensic lab to stand on the cause of the fire and if criminal intents were behind it or if it was negligence.
It also delegated the civil safety forces to inspect the building and to see how much safety measures it had against fire. It also requested from other agencies to provide reports on the license of the building construction, its violations and the business activities in it.
The building already had a shoes warehouse where the fire had erupted.
The Prosecution added that it received a report on Tuesday from police that fire erupted once again on the ground floor of the building and extended once again to the first floor and the basement due to the concrete nature of the walls and the existence of chemical inflammable materials in the building used for storing shoes. The new fire was however put out.
The Prosecution revealed that there were several violations committed by the owner of the building; starting with the fact that he did not have a construction license and constructed the building over an agricultural land outside the urban zone issued by the governorate.
The owner also did not have a license to have a warehouse in the building nor did he have any professional safety measures as required by the law.
The Prosecution added that an evacuation and demolition order was issued for the building in order to ensure the safety of the neighbouring buildings and the ring road as soon as the fires are fully put out.
Commonly known in Egyptian media as the Faisal building, it consists of 108 apartments, 15 of which were inhabited.
The residents from the 15 inhabited apartments were evacuated and no casualties have been reported to date since the start of the fire on Saturday.
Authorities have ordered the stopping of fire-fighting efforts, fearing that continuous water confrontation of the fire may increase damage to the infrastructure of the building.