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December 22, 1987

Six people were killed and more than 1,000 required treatment when smoke bombs exploded in a military chemicals depot in Alexandria, Egypt, sparking a fire that spewed a cloud of black vapor across a densely populated area, officials said. Thousands of people fled their homes or were evacuated as the fire raged until nightfall in Egypt's second-largest city. Police sealed off the area after evacuating schools, homes and factories. An army spokesman ruled out arson, blaming "weather factors," including rain, for causing spontaneous combustion of the smoke bombs, used to create smoke screens during military maneuvers.

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