Cairo At least 41 people were killed and 14 injured when a fire erupted at a church in Egypt’s capital Cairo on Sunday, sending large amounts of thick black smoke into the air as congregants worshiped, according to the Coptic Church. .
The cause of the fire at the Abu Sefain church in Imbaba’s working-class neighborhood was not immediately known. Initial investigations pointed to an electrical short, according to a police statement.
The country’s health minister blamed the deaths on smoke and crowds as people tried to flee the fire.It was one of Egypt’s worst fire tragedies in recent years.
Footage circulating online showed furniture, including wooden tables and chairs, on fire. Firefighters were seen putting out the fire and others carrying victims to ambulances.
The Coptic Church cited health officials when reporting casualties. The fire broke out while the service was being provided.
Fifteen fire engines were dispatched to the scene to extinguish the blaze while ambulances carried casualties to nearby hospitals.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi expressed condolences over the phone with Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II, according to the president’s office.
“I am closely following the development of the tragic accident,” El Sisi wrote on Facebook. “I have instructed all relevant national agencies and agencies to take all necessary measures to immediately deal with this incident and its consequences.”
Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghafar said in a statement that two of the injured have been discharged from hospital, while the other 12 are still receiving treatment.
The interior ministry said it received a report of the fire at 9 am local time and discovered that the fire had started in an air conditioner on the second floor of the building.
The ministry, which oversees police and firefighters, blamed an electrical short circuit for the smoke-producing blaze.
The country’s chief public prosecutor, Hamada El-Sawi, ordered an investigation and a team of prosecutors was dispatched to the church.
Egyptian Christians make up about 10% of the country’s population of more than 103 million and have long complained of discrimination by the country’s Muslim majority.
Sunday’s fire was one of the worst fire tragedies in years in Egypt, where safety standards and fire regulations are poorly enforced. Last March, a fire at a garment factory near Cairo killed at least 20 people and injured another 24.
Fire at Coptic church in Cairo kills 41, injures 14
Source link Fire at Coptic church in Cairo kills 41, injures 14
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