A massive fire broke out in Egypt's upper house of parliament on Tuesday injuring five people and prompting deployment of army firefighting helicopters, a security official said.
"Army helicopters are now trying to put out the fire which has spread," the official told AFP.
The fire, which broke out on the second floor of the building, spread to the third floor causing severe damage to a parliamentary archive, the official said on condition of anonymity.
"Five emergency service staff were taken to a nearby hospital after suffering smoke-related injuries," the official said.
"Parliament is currently on summer recess and very few people would have been in the building," he added.
State television reported that the blaze could have been caused by an electrical short circuit.
Witnesses said a huge black cloud hung over the building which is located in central Cairo, close to many ministries and government buildings.
All roads in the area have been closed off, allowing access only to emergency services and authorities.
The area is usually under tight security as it is close to the American University in Cairo and not far from several Western embassies.