Paper bags and lit candles…not a good combo

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In a theater in Beni Suef, Egypt, more than 30 people were killed and another 60 injured in an accidental fire. The blaze started when an actor in an experimental play “knocked over a candle on a set made entirely out of paper bags, while the play was being performed.”

Some were killed by fire and smoke, but some may have been crushed by the stampede caused by the rush of the audience. While the theater had two exits, one may have been covered by the same paper bags that fueled the fire, which hid it from those trying to leave the facility.

According to a report from CNN:

Egypt’s health minister said he expected an investigation to examine why so many people died in the fire at the Culture Palace in Beni Suef, a town 60 miles south of Cairo. Fire codes will also be considered in the investigation, said Mustafa Alwy, a high-ranking official in the culture ministry which runs the theater. Egypt requires safety measures such as fire extinguishers, but does not strictly enforce them.

For more on U.S. fire codes, see last month’s feature by Anne Vazquez.

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