Sight Magazine – At least 41 dead in Egyptian church fire, security sources say

Cairo, Egypt

At least 41 people were killed and 45 injured in a fire inside a church in the Egyptian city of Giza on Sunday, two security sources told Reuters.

An electrical fire broke out just before 9 a.m. during mass as 5,000 people gathered at the Abu Sifin Coptic Church in Imbaba district, the sources said.

Security members stand at the scene where a deadly fire broke out at the Abu Sifin Church in Giza, Egypt on August 14. PHOTO: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing a stampede, they said, adding that most of those killed were children.

“People were gathering on the third and fourth floors, and we saw smoke coming out of the second floor. People rushed down the stairs and watched each other fall,” said Yasir Munir, a worshiper. from the church.

“Then we heard a bang, sparks and fire coming out of the window,” he said, saying he and his daughter were downstairs and could escape.

Electrical fires of this type are not uncommon in Egypt; In late 2020, a fire at a hospital treating COVID-19 patients killed at least seven people and injured several others.

Giza, the second largest city in Egypt, is just across the Nile from Cairo.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims who died with their Lord in one of his places of worship,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a tweet.

Maher Murad said he left his sister at the church after prayers.

“As soon as I walked away from the church just 10 meters I heard screams and saw thick smoke,” he said.

“After the fireman put out the fire, I recognized my sister’s body. The bodies are all charred, and many of them are children, who were in a nursery in the church.”