Egypt's Renowned Arab Film Studio Gutted By Massive Fire

The city of Cairo is unsettled by the loss of a cinematic treasure trove, consumed by flames that engulfed the venerable film production house, a cornerstone of the Arab film industry for 80 years.

The inferno at Al-Ahram Studio in Cairo’s Giza district raged on, devouring its interior and leaping to three neighboring edifices, all cleared out prior to the blaze’s encroachment.

Come Saturday dawn, inhabitants from nearby constructions were spotted bedded down on the nearby streets. Authorities stated no fatalities occurred, with only individuals suffering from smoke inhalation receiving treatment at the scene.

As reported by local media, the fire erupted a day after filming wrapped up for a Ramadan television series. The root cause of the fire remains a mystery, and firefighters struggled for over six hours to douse the flames, as per security sources.

According to Yusif Mohammed, an eyewitness residing nearby, flames had engulfed surrounding buildings by the time fire trucks reached the scene, as reported to AFP.

“No one knows what really happened” to cause it, he said.

The fire erupted after the production team of the series “El-Moallem,” starring Egyptian star Mustafa Shaban, concluded a regular filming day.

Egypt’s Premier Mostafa Madbouly, along with several top officials and ministers, rushed to the site to oversee the firefighting efforts, assess the damage, and expedite the compensation process.

An official statement said that the premier and his colleagues toured the site and the affected residential buildings.

They were briefed about the situation by the governor of Giza who said that the blaze significantly damaged the facades of seven buildings.

Furthermore, it was stated that the prime minister had mandated the urgent creation of a committee to compile assessments regarding the timeline and financial implications for restoring the buildings to their pre-fire state.

He announced measures to provide compensation for affected families, ensuring that their rent expenses are covered until the buildings are rehabilitated to their original state.

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As per an account shared with Arab News by a local resident, a woman observed flames emerging within the studio premises and urgently tried to reach out to the studio’s security guard and others for aid.

Tragically, before any action could be initiated, the fire rapidly consumed the entirety of the studio, subsequently spreading to neighboring residential apartments.

The witness added: “What happened was that those filming inside the studio were shooting a scene with flares, but as we know, the studio is all made of wood, and I assume the flares set a small fire to the wood that escalated over time.”

The Al-Ahram Studio, established in 1944 and sprawling across 27,000 square meters, boasts three production stages, a screening room, and an editing suite.

During its prime in the 1950s, Egypt ranked as the world’s third-largest film producer, with the Al-Ahram Studio contributing significantly to this thriving industry.

Africa Today News, New York 

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