A fire at a church in Egypt has killed 41 people. At the time of the fire, 5,000 believers are said to have been in the building.
A fire broke out in a Coptic church in the Egyptian city of Giza, near the capital Cairo, on Sunday. According to the country’s church, 41 people died. Medical sources from Egypt confirmed this number to the German Press Agency. In addition, 14 people are said to have been injured.
Fire in a Coptic church near Cairo: faulty air conditioning is to blame for the fire
A few hours after the fire, the authorities identified the cause of the fire. According to the Egyptian interior ministry, a faulty air conditioning system was to blame for the fire, which reportedly broke out at the end of a church service. Eyewitnesses told the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper that a power outage caused a short circuit that started the fire.
According to local sources, around 5,000 people were in the Abu Sifin Church in the Imbaba district at the time of the fire, according to the Reuters news agency. The outbreak of the fire is said to have led to a mass panic. Sad scenes are depicted in pictures that are being shared on social media: Where hours before a religious community had met, there are now only frightened crowds and burned-out premises.
Fire in a Coptic church near Cairo: emergency services bring the flames under control
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke to Tawadros II, Pope of the Copts, who have more than 10 million members in Egypt, following the disaster. He also took to Twitter to express his condolences and pledged to use all means and provide all available help to those affected.
According to the Ministry of Health, a few minutes after the emergency call was made, 30 ambulances arrived at the church to support the rescue efforts and take 55 people to nearby hospitals. Civil protection workers were able to contain the flames after almost two hours. (dpa/le)