Fire in theatre kills 29

A fire sparked by candles being used in a play tore through an Egyptian theatre on Monday, killing 29 people before they could escape.

The play, part of a drama festival, was in full swing when the candles set fire to curtains and the wooden stage. The audience scrambled to escape the building in Beni Suef, 100 kilometres from Cairo.

Some of those killed apparently died in the stampede to get out. Others were killed either by the flames, or by suffocation. “Everyone was trying to save themselves and they were falling all over each other,” Mohammed Arafat Yassin, 27, recovering at Beni Suef hospital, told journalists. “It was like being inside a barbecue grill. Everyone was burning.”

At least 37 people were also injured, including at least 14 of the theatrical troupe, the state news agency said.