Fire at Coptic church in Cairo kills 41, hurts 14

Fire at Coptic church in Cairo kills 41, hurts 14

CAIRO — A fireplace ripped by a packed church throughout morning companies in Egypt’s capital on Sunday, killing a minimum of 41 worshippers and injuring 14.

The church rapidly full of thick black smoke, and witnesses stated a number of trapped congregants jumped from higher flooring to flee. “Suffocation, suffocation, all of them lifeless,” stated a distraught witness, who solely gave a partial title, Abu Bishoy.

The reason for the blaze within the Abu Sefein church within the working-class neighborhood of Imbaba was not instantly identified. An preliminary investigation pointed to {an electrical} short-circuit, in line with a police assertion.

Footage from the scene circulated on-line confirmed burned furnishings, together with wood tables and chairs. Firefighters have been seen placing out the blaze whereas others carried victims to ambulances. Households waited for phrase on kinfolk who have been contained in the church.

A girl reacts after a lethal hearth broke out on the Abu Sifin church.REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Witnesses stated there have been many youngsters contained in the constructing when the hearth broke out.

“There are kids we didn’t know the right way to get to them,” stated Abu Bishoy. “And we don’t know whose son that is, or whose daughter that’s. Is that this attainable?”

The nation’s well being minister blamed the smoke and a stampede as folks tried to flee the hearth for inflicting the fatalities. It was one of many worst hearth tragedies in Egypt in recent times.

Emergency personnel work on the web site of a fireplace on the Abu Sefein church that has killed over 40 folks and injured a minimum of 14 others.AP Photograph/Mohamed Salah

Witness Emad Hanna stated the church consists of two locations used as a daycare for youngsters, and {that a} church employee managed to get many youngsters out.

“We went upstairs and located folks lifeless. And we began to see from exterior that the smoke was getting greater, and other people need to leap from the higher ground. … We discovered the kids.”

Egypt’s Coptic Church and the nation’s well being ministry reported the casualty toll. The church stated the hearth broke out whereas a service was underway. The church is positioned in a slender avenue in probably the most densely populated neighborhoods in Cairo.

Burned furnishings, together with wood tables and chairs, and non secular photos are seen on the web site of a fireplace contained in the Abu Sefein Coptic church.AP Photograph/Tarek Wajeh

Fifteen firefighting autos have been dispatched to the scene to place out the flames whereas ambulances ferried casualties to close by hospitals, officers stated.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi spoke by cellphone with the Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II to supply his condolences, the president’s workplace stated. Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam, additionally provided his condolences to the top of the Coptic church.

“I’m carefully following the developments of the tragic accident,” el-Sissi wrote on Fb. “I directed all involved state businesses and establishments to take all essential measures, and instantly to take care of this accident and its results.”

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli and Well being Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar visiting an injured lady at a hospital following the Abu Sifin church hearth.Egypt’s Prime Minister Workplace/AFP through Getty Photos

Well being Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghafar stated in an announcement that two of the injured have been discharged from a hospital whereas 12 others have been nonetheless being handled.

The Inside Ministry stated it obtained a report on the hearth at 9 a.m. native time, and that they discovered that the blaze broke out in an air conditioner within the constructing’s second ground.

The ministry, which oversees police and firefighters, blamed {an electrical} short-circuit for the hearth, which produced big quantities of smoke. In the meantime, the nation’s chief prosecutor, Hamada el-Sawy, ordered an investigation and a staff of prosecutors have been dispatched to the church.

Witnesses described how folks rushed into the burning home of worship to rescue these trapped however have been quickly overwhelmed by the warmth and the lethal smoke.KHALED DESOUKI/AFP through Getty Photos

In a while Sunday, emergency companies stated they managed to place out the blaze and the prime minister and different senior authorities officers arrived to examine the positioning.

Egypt’s Christians account for some 10% of the nation’s greater than 103 million folks and have lengthy complained of discrimination by the nation’s Muslim majority.

Sunday’s blaze was one of many worst hearth tragedies in recent times in Egypt, the place security requirements and hearth laws are poorly enforced. In March final 12 months, a fireplace at a garment manufacturing unit close to Cairo killed a minimum of 20 folks and injured 24 extra.

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