A fire in Cairo likely caused by a ruptured oil pipeline has injured at least 17 people on a busy desert highway, the Egyptian Health Ministry said today.Â
Videos from the scene showed huge plumes of black smoke and fire engulfing nearby cars on the countryside road stretching from the capital to the city of Ismailia. More than a dozen fire trucks worked to put out the blaze, which is believed to have been caused by leakage from the Shuqair-Mostorod crude oil pipeline that runs along the highway.Â
As of this evening, no deaths were reported. The injured were taken to Al Salam Hospital in Cairo to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation, the ministry said in a Facebook post.Â
According to Ahram Online, the fire destroyed 31 cars, as well as a nearby car dealership. Officials from the Health Ministry were dispatched to the scene, and the state prosecution is investigating what started the fire.Â
The Xinhua news agency reported that the head of Egyptâ€™s Petroleum Pipelines Company, Emad Abdel-Qader, said he believed a fracture in the pipeline and a spark caused by the highway traffic. The pipelineâ€™s valves have since been shut off and cars have been told to avoid the area.