Cairo. At least 41 people were killed and 14 others injured on Sunday after a fire broke out at a church in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. According to a police statement, the fire broke out at the Abu Sefin Church located in the densely populated area of Imbaba. According to the statement, the cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained and preliminary investigations suggested a short-circuit as the cause of the fire. The Coptic Church reported casualties, citing health officials.
Witnesses said there were several children inside the building when the fire broke out. An eyewitness said the church was engulfed in smoke after the fire and many trapped people jumped from the upper floors to escape and many died of suffocation. Fifteen fire tenders were sent to the spot to douse the blaze, while the injured were taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals.
The presidential office said President Abdul Fateh al-Sisi spoke on the phone with Coptic Christian Pope Tawdros II and offered his condolences. Al-Sisi said on Facebook: ‘I am witnessing this tragic incident. I have asked all concerned agencies and institutions to take all necessary steps. The health ministry said the injured were taken to local hospitals. However, the ministry did not give details about the death toll.
Health Minister Khalid Abdul-Ghafar said in a statement that two of the injured had been discharged from hospital, while 12 others were still undergoing treatment. The Home Ministry said it received a report at 9 a.m. local time and learned that an air conditioner on the second floor of the building had caught fire.
First Published: August 14, 2022, 16:31 IST