A fire that erupted at a furniture factory east of Cairo has killed 25 workers and injured 22 more, according to Egypt's health ministry.

According to a security official, a preliminary investigation indicated that the blaze started when a gas cylinder exploded as it was transported in an elevator.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to reporters.

Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, health ministry spokesperson, said 22 more workers suffered from burns and smoke inhalation in the blaze at the Al-Helw factory on the outskirts of Cairo.

Egyptian state-run media said the factory in the city of al-Obour had not obtained a government safety certification.

Local media reported that firefighters gained control of the blaze by the afternoon with the help of about 20 fire tenders.

Abdel-Ghaffar said in a statement that the victims were taken to local hospitals, which declared a "state of emergency" to deal with the casualties, state media said.

Source: AP