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29 Die After Fire in Egypt Theater

From Times Wire Services

Fire broke out in an Egyptian theater during a crowded play performance late Monday, causing audience members to flee in panic, officials said. At least 29 people were killed, some from the flames and some in the stampede.

The fire erupted about 11:45 p.m. in a theater in Beni Suef, a city on the Nile River about 70 miles south of Cairo, a police official said.

“It was like being inside a barbecue grill. Everyone was burning,” said Mohammed Arafat Yassin, who was recovering at Beni Suef Hospital.

The fire was caused by a candle used during the performance that fell, igniting the stage and props, the official Middle East News Agency said.

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At least 37 people were reportedly injured, including 14 members of the theatrical troupe. Most were treated for burns on 30% to 90% of their bodies, a hospital official said.

“All the people rushed to the exit and struggled to get out,” said Adel Hassan, the play’s producer, who was being treated at the hospital for burns to his face and arms. “But the fire spread very rapidly, and many of them just couldn’t get out in time.”


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