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State Radio And Television Building Burns

April 30, 1988

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ A fire Saturday blackened a 27-story building that houses the government radio and television stations, and 40 people were overcome by smoke, government and hospital officials said.

Officials said the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit. Employees in the building said they smelled wires burning.

Smoke billowed from windows on the eighth floor, where the fire started, and several floors above and below.

Witnesses said they saw 20 fire engines and about a dozen ambulances at the scene. Firefighters used ladders to rescue people trapped on the stricken floors. Some were overcome by smoke.

An official at the state-owned Boulac General Hospital near the radio-TV building said 20 people were brought there for treatment of smoke inhalation. Seventeen were treated and discharged, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and the other three were ″under observation but in good condition.″

Police sources said another 20 people overcome by smoke were taken to another hospital, treated and discharged.

The fire briefly interrupted transmissions on the two television channels that broadcast during the day.

Samira Mounir, an actress who was in a recording studio in the building, said: ″The smoke was so thick we couldn’t see each other. We just groped our way out.″

The 28-year-old building houses about 6,000 radio and television employees and the Information Ministry that controls them.

It was not known how many people were inside the building when the fire broke out. Many rushed from their offices and studios to escape the smoke and crowded onto the tree-lined street, paralyzing traffic for more than a half a mile in both directions.

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