Egypt: Fire outbreak in church kills 41 persons

Mourners at the burial of the victims

There was a fire outbreak in a Coptic Orthodox church in Egypt on Sunday morning, August 14, 2022. According to The Associated Press, the incident killed 41 persons including children.

Several members of the Martyr Abu Sefein church who were trapped in the building had to escape by jumping out when the flames increased.

A witness, who identified himself as Abu Bishoy said that the victims died due to suffocation in the flames. He said, “Suffocation, suffocation, all of them dead.”

Although the cause of the incident was not known initially, investigation by the police revealed that an electrical short-circuit was the cause of the incident.

Furniture and other items were already damaged by the fire before firefighters came to put it out. It was a sad moment for families who lost their loved ones in the incident.

Those affected by the disaster were taken to a nearby hospital.

The Associated Press, which had access to a hospital document noted that 20 bodies, including children, were received by the Imbaba public hospital. Also, the bishop of the church, Abdul Bakhit, died in the tragedy. His body has been deposited in the morgue.

Other hospitals in the area were said to have received a total of 21 bodies.

In his statement, the health minister, Khaled Ghaffer, faulted the stampede to the attempt by some persons to escape from the fire.

Another eye witness, Emad Hanna, said that there are two places that the church uses as daycare for children. Also, some children were assisted out of the building by a worker in the church.

Hanna said, “We went upstairs and found people dead. Then, we started to see from outside that the smoke was getting bigger, and people want to jump from the upper floor. We found the children, some dead, some alive.”

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