Parliament on fire.

Originally uploaded by m_twfeeq

This happened a few days ago but its still quite a heated topic.

If you’re parliament -specifically the Upper House (say the US Senate) was on fire and the emergency and fire services were taking their beautiful time -wouldn’t you be a little worried even skeptical to suspect it be just only an accidental fire?!? Sounds like a cover up. I think every Egyptian smells this but we’ll see what the authorities make of it.

Its not as if the building was in the middle of the desert, its downtown Cairo! They could easily have pumped water from the Nile. But then again you do have the Cairo traffic -I have to make sure I read many Surah’s and prayers to make sure we get from A to B in one piece  because the driving is that crazy! Even then, when I was watching this covered on the news -it appeared as if the authorities were literally watching this burn to the grown. There are precious docos inside -about the entire country hello! and yet this was not enough to save it.

Another blogger –Multicultural Muslimah, also mentions things that was not covered.

Here’s more:

Fireman dies following Shoura Council fire, investigation continues

By Mostafa El Sawy

CAIRO: A fireman died on Wednesday from injuries sustained during the night-long efforts to control the fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon at the Shoura Council, Minister of Interior Habib Al-Adly told reporters outside the gutted building yesterday.

The minister also ruled out arson.

On Tuesday night, as the fire was still raging, Cairo’s Governor Abdel-Azim Wazir initially told reporters that there were no serious injuries just minor suffocation cases.

The governor also ruled out arson, saying “Please let us focus on the problem without misleading people with those worthless rumors.”

“We will wait for the Prosecution Office’s investigations to reveal more details about the reasons behind the fire,” the governor said.

At the time, the governor said, “The fire is being dealt with seriously and enormous efforts are being exerted to put out the fire. But the problem is the building’s wooden floors,” which fuelled the blaze.

The governor expressed his shock that such an important building could face a problem like this.

Although reports indicate that the fire was under control by dawn, smoke was still seen over the historical 9th-century building at 7:30 am Wednesday.

“Four emergency service staff members and nine people who were in the building, were reported injured, suffering from smoke inhalation,” an official at the Ministry of Interior’s media department told Daily News Egypt on Wednesday.

An eyewitness said that the fire started at around 4:30 pm and that it would have been easier to control if firefighters had responded more promptly. Onlookers said emergency service staff arrived 45 minutes later.

Firefighting departments were called in from surrounding governorates to help quell the flames. Trucks from Cairo, Helwan and Maadi fire departments were spotted on the scene along with fire trucks from the Cairo Petroleum Refinery Company and the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The flames touched the rooftop of the Tax Authority building, but firefighters were able to put that fire out in less than 15 minutes.

The ceilings of each of the Shoura Council’s three-storey building collapsed. The fire, which began on the third floor, spread downwards, engulfing the other two floors over the course of several hours.

Two army firefighting helicopters were sent to drop water over the burning flames, but they missed their target on the first attempt as most of the water was poured on the reporters and security officials standing by.

Both the fire trucks and the helicopters were faced with a shortage of water.

The helicopters went from the Shoura Council to the nearby Nile River to refill the small buckets, which did nothing to diminish the flames. Those attempts lasted around 20 to 30 minutes.

“The fire trucks were not well equipped nor were the firefighters well-trained; to be fair it should be said that huge efforts were exerted but in an inexperienced unorganized way,” Nabil Ahmed Abdullah, production security supervisor at a petroleum company who witnessed the incident, told Daily News Egypt on site a little after midnight.

Although state TV advised people to take alternative roads, instead of the vital Al Qasr Al Aini Street, home to the Council, the road was not blocked. The resulting traffic jam hindered firefighting efforts.

Several eye witnesses including one of the paramedics’ team said that two Shoura Council employees were trapped inside the building earlier when the fire started and were later seen clinging to the building’s outer pipes for more than 30 minutes before security forces helped them down.

A former general in the Civil Defense, which overseas the fire department, criticized the government’s response.

“Something wrong happened,” Gen. Adel el-Abodi said. “How come a whole building caught fire in an hour? Where are the fire alarms and where are the sprinklers?”

It was the second fire in the parliament’s upper house in 10 years, he said. “But in 1998, we managed to control the fire in the room it erupted in,” he said. –Additional reporting by AP.

Al Baleel’s “Fire” edition banned claims editor

By Sarah Carr 

CAIRO: The second edition of independent Egyptian daily Al-Badil’s Wednesday issue was not printed due to its tone in covering the Shoura Council fire, the paper’s editor claims.

State-run Al-Ahram Printing allegedly received orders not to print the second edition of the paper.

A huge fire which began on Tuesday evening gutted the Shoura Council.
The second edition of Al-Badil is viewable on the newspaper’s website. 

Coverage of the fire is led with headlines reading “Fierce fire destroys People’s Assembly and Shoura Council committee buildings in less than two hours; flames consume Ferry, contaminated blood, cancerous pesticides and Upper Egypt train files” — a reference to several high profile and controversial incidents which occurred in Egypt in the last few years.

Other headlines state that 40 fire engines were unable to control the fire for five hours and that the paper’s journalists were prevented from covering the event.

An article alleges that the Shoura Council building was not equipped to withstand fire despite its having been renovated, and despite the fact that it houses important public documents.

Engineers are alleged to have told Al-Badil journalists that Shoura Council security staff prevented them from entering the building before the fire broke out, and that they could have prevented the fire had they been allowed entrance.

Zakaria Hassan, former head of the Nasser Military Academy, is quoted as saying, “The fire has revealed serious shortcomings in firefighting capacity because of the poverty in the country and bad planning … A special force should have been in place to fight a fire on this scale.”

Occupational safety consultant General Nader Noaman also criticizes the response to the fire in the Al-Badil article.

“There was a delay in the response to the fire which made it difficult to deal with.

“While there were trucks carrying water; at least six permanent sources of water were required in order to bring the fire under control.

“Furthermore, throwing water at the fire from planes led to the collapse of the buildings’ roofs,” Noaman is quoted as saying.

According to an article written by Al-Badil journalist Wael Mahgoub (which appears on the Mabadali.blogspot website) the newspaper’s first edition — sent to the printing house at 5 pm — was reduced to 18,000 copies.

The second edition — which has a circulation of 25,000 — was not printed at all, allegedly after the Al-Ahram Printing House had received orders from security bodies not to print the newspaper, Mahgoub wrote on his blog.

Al-Badil’s chief editor Mohamed El-Sayyed Said told Daily News Egypt that the newspaper’s photographer was attacked by security forces.

“We were the first journalists on the scene, and took hundreds of photographs showing how the fire developed.

“Security forces destroyed our photographer’s camera and confiscated its digital memory card — this happened very early on, before other journalists arrived,” Said explained.

Said says that he suspects Al-Badil’s outspoken criticism of the government could explain the orders given to Al-Ahram not to print the second edition.

“Colleagues say that political motives lie behind the decision to ban the second edition — but I can’t say this with any certainty until I have further proof.

“While Al-Masry Al-Youm was allowed coverage of the incident, we were not, and I can only think that this is because we are much more critical than Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“We are in any case extremely concerned that Al-Ahram did not perform its duties in accordance with its contract with us,” Said told Daily News Egypt.


~ by nursheikha on August 22, 2008.

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