At least seven people were killed and 16 injured in a fire in a Nile Delta village in the northern province of Beheira on Wednesday evening, hours after the attempted theft of gas from a pipeline caused a gas leak in the area, Egyptian media reported.
One local resident told Reuters a hospital in the area was packed and that there appeared to be more casualties than reported. The smell of gas was everywhere, he said.
Abdel-Moneim Hafez, head of the Petroleum Pipelines Company, said the attempt to rob the pipeline took place in Itay el-Baroud, a village half-way between Cairo and Alexandria, on Wednesday afternoon.
"As a result of an unknown source of flame, there was a flare in the leaked product following the accident," state news agency MENA quoted him as saying.
Technical teams had rushed to the scene after the attempted theft and controlled the leakage, Hafez said.
The injuries included different degrees of burns, MENA quoted Khaled Megahed, adviser to the health minister, as saying. All of the injured were in hospital, he said.
Footage posted online showed flames rising into the sky and people trying to put out the fire. Other footage showed other people attempting to collect the leaked fuel before the fire broke out.
Authorities said firefighters took at least three hours to extinguish the blaze, which damaged over a dozen vehicles in the area.