Books – Muhammad Shaban:
The security services’ inspection revealed the latest developments in the fire of a factory and a shoe store under a tower adjacent to the Ring Road in the area of Kerdasa Center, which had erupted last Saturday afternoon.
It was found that the fire had ended in the basement and the ground and first floors, with the escalation of smoke only.
The designated services are stationed around the tower between the civil defense personnel under the supervision of Major General Hisham Sadiq, director of the General Administration of Civil Protection in Giza, and the police forces of the North October Division.
The inspection revealed new circumstances around the tower. It turns out that one floor includes 9 housing units, all loaded with an electric elevator and one ladder as well.
The fact that most of the residential units in the tower were not occupied – with the exception of only 15 inhabited ones – contributed to preventing a disaster due to the absence of an emergency exit. A source in charge of the scene described the scene at the time, “People could not know how to leave and throw themselves off the balcony,” but fate was merciful.
The timekeeping indicators were pointing to 3 pm last Saturday. Repeated screaming and wailing, everyone works like a beehive, hoping to prevent a disaster.
A dense escalation of smoke and the rise of flames inside a factory and shoe store under a residential tower adjacent to the Ring Road in the Kerdasa district, north of Giza.
45 fire extinguishers were used by workers in an attempt to control the fire. Two hours and 45 minutes, the attempts ended in failure, so the alternative option came to call the emergency police.
The rescue operations room notified civil protection officials in Giza of a huge fire in that industrial facility. Major General Hisham Sadiq, Director of the General Administration of Civil Protection in Giza, headed to the place of communication, at the head of a force that included 7 fire trucks and 3 strategic tanks with a capacity (35, 15, and 8 tons).
A high-level firefighting team that included Major General Hani Muhammad, Alaa Saeed, and Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Imam worked to confront the fire, but the delay in reporting the incident made the task more difficult.
Despite the arrival of support from 4 governorates, the head of the collapsing facilities committee and the professors of the Faculty of Engineering, the Cairo Community, recommended stopping the firefighting operation, saying, “She will die.”
A responsible security source said that the firefighting operations stopped and that the presence of civil defense personnel to observe and cool down and prevent the spread of fire to the neighboring properties.
The source pointed out that he would wait for the fire to end on its own. “We will not intervene due to the possibility of the tower collapsing at any moment … the fire ate the concrete.”
In a related context, the police evacuated residential units adjacent to the tower, the place of the fire, to save lives in light of the thickening of smoke.
The firefighting work stopped due to the seriousness of the situation and the possibility of the tower collapsing due to the fire burning inside and its effect on the concrete columns.
For his part, Major General Ahmed Rashid, Governor of Giza, listened to a full explanation from two professors of the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University about what a massive fire consumed the contents of a factory and a shoe store at the bottom of a residential tower next to the Ring Road in Giza.
A faculty member at the College of Engineering recommended not to proceed with the extinguishing process. A discussion took place between them and the civil defense men headed by Major General Hisham Sadiq, Director of the General Administration of Civil Protection in Giza.
The discussion ended with a recommendation to the firefighters, “Do not use water or foam because the mayors are crying” and wait for conditions to calm down and temperature drops inside the site of the accident.
The Chairman of the Facilities Committee dawned a surprise that the tower that contains the factory and the store is in violation, stressing, “When the fire is saved, sincerely, if the building is located on its own, we will destroy it.”
It turned out that a residential tower includes 108 housing units, 15 of which are inhabited, and were evacuated from their residents in the interest of their safety.
The tower in the “basement” contains a shoe factory, and the first and second floors were converted into a warehouse on an area of a thousand meters to which the fire spread without reaching the rest of the floors of the property where the fire was located.
It turned out that the factory was on an area of 1,000 square meters, and the fire broke out in the “basement” before the fire moved to the first floor and from there to the second; Due to the presence of highly flammable materials. The inspection suggested that the fire broke out due to a short circuit.
The inspection revealed the interest of the property owner and the manufacturer to establish the tower well. “I have been building a need for years.” The tower is erected on an armed base of a thousand meters, so that the first floor is built of reinforced concrete without using “one brick”, and it has turned into a tomb with no outlet.
The nature of the place, which lacks the means of industrial safety and security, made the task of controlling the fire akin to a suicide operation, so that a “Dakkak” was used that only made 4 holes of the strength and rigidity of the armament.
Shocking scenario and fears of disaster
The most prominent question on the horizon over the past hours is, “What is the fate of the tower?” His answer was especially shocking to the housing unit owners. As soon as the fire ends, governorate officials will begin removing the collapsing tower.
The spread of civil protection men and police in the vicinity of the residential tower comes to note the situation, especially since the greatest danger is the possibility of it collapsing and falling on the body of the Ring Road, which is the lifeline for the residents of Cairo and Giza.
Yesterday evening, a fire broke out in an apartment on the sixth floor. The fire did not last long, and with it, calm returned to the area located on the outskirts of the Ring Road.
At dawn today, Monday, the conditions in the basement – which includes the factory – have calmed down, and the matter has become limited to an escalation of fumes, indicating that the fire has gone out.
Going up to the ground floor, the flames formed separate outposts, marking the end of the fire on that floor. Moving to the first floor, the upper one, is still burning without retreating due to the intensity of its fire, in addition to the fall of parts of the tower (ceiling – walls).
Regarding what was raised about the “inclination” of the tower, the sources denied the matter, confirming that the walls of the first floor began to fall successively as a result of being severely affected by the fire, especially since the factory is not licensed.
“Emperor of Kochi tradition”
The main suspect in the accident is the owner of both the factory and the property, called “Samir H.”. Many describe it as a “copycat Kuchi legend”.
The man lying on a hospital bed receiving medical attention under heavy security guard began his career as a seller of “slippers” on wooden carriages, traveling between streets and squares in search of forming his empire.
Life soon smiled at him and he owned shop after shop until he decided to sell them all and buy a plot of land overlooking the ring road in the Kerdasa district, north of Giza.
The man put his fortune in building the tower, using the basement, the ground and first floors, as a warehouse. S&H, the sign inscribed on the high-rise tower and also on the products of his factory, became famous.
The self-made man’s dreams of securing a brilliant future for his children and grandchildren after him evaporated with the outbreak of a massive fire that consumed the contents of the factory and store, but it came to the erosion of the concrete columns of a tower that includes 108 housing units. Apartment prices range between 400 – 500 thousand pounds due to its distinguished location.
The tower is waiting for the bullet of mercy with the fire extinguished by removing it according to the recommendation of the Chairman of the Mechanized Facilities Committee for the fall and professors of the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University.
The necessary legal measures have been taken and efforts are being intensified to arrest the fugitive accused.