- Egyptian authorities have refuted arson and terrorism claims today on fire that gutted Senate building in Cairo and left one firemen dead, injuring 15.
Interior Minister Habib el-Adli said 19th-century three storey building was gutted by fire this morning, 16 hours after fire broke upper floor.
Authorities were assessing the damage to building after emergency services took more than nine hours to put out fire which broke out around 1430 GMT on Tuesday, a police official told state television.
"Security services are ruling out sabotage or any criminal act," Mr el Adli said.
Policemen and 15 fire fighters were injured during unsuccessful attempt to put out fire, said Adli.
"Fire was suspected to have been caused by an electrical short circuit. In first few hours, when fire was at its fiercest, fire department had only a handful of hoses working at scene mostly from ground level,” he said.
"The problem is that the building is built of wood, and this helped the fire to spread. Everyone is working to bring the situation under control," Sherif told state TV on Tuesday.
Fifty-five fire trucks took part in fire-fighting operations and military helicopters took water from nearby River Nile to dump it on the building.
The building, which is listed by the Supreme Council of Antiquities as an Islamic monument, "boasts unique Islamic decoration," archaeologist Abdullah al-Attar told MENA, national news agency.
However, most of the water hit outer walls and did not reach the interior, where the wooden roof and floors were burning.
On Tuesday, a huge black cloud rose above the building in central Cairo as helicopters carrying water from the nearby Nile doused the flames to try and prevent them spreading to surrounding ministries and government buildings.
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