Church Fire in Cairo Kills 41 Worshipers

An electrical short-circuit is believed to be the cause
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2022 8:55 AM CDT
Church Fire in Cairo Kills 41 Worshipers
People gather as emergency personnel work at the site of a fire at the Abu Sefein church in Cairo.   (AP Photo/Mohamed Salah)

(Newser) – A fire ripped through a church in the Egyptian capital of Cairo during services on Sunday, killing at least 41 and injuring 14, the Coptic Church said. The cause of the blaze in the Abu Sefein church in the working-class neighborhood of Imbaba was not immediately known, though police say an initial investigation points to an electrical short-circuit, per the AP. The country’s health minister blamed the fatalities on heavy smoke and a stampede as people attempted to flee. It was one of the worst fire tragedies in Egypt in recent years.

“I am closely following the developments of the tragic accident,” President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi wrote on Facebook. “I directed all concerned state agencies and institutions to take all necessary measures, and immediately to deal with this accident and its effects.” The Interior Ministry said it received a report on the fire at 9am local time, adding that the blaze appears to have started in an air conditioner on the building's second floor. Egypt’s Christians account for some 10% of the nation’s more than 103 million people, where Muslims are in the majority.

(Read more Egypt stories.)

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