41 dead, 14 injured in church fire during mass in Giza ‘due to electrical malfunction’

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Aug 2022

Forty-one died and 14 injured as the result of a massive fire that broke out Sunday morning in Abu Sefein church located in the Greater Cairo district of Imbaba during the Divine Liturgy due to “an electrical malfunction.”

41 dead in church fire in Giza


A spokesperson for the Coptic Church, said that there were children among the victims of the fire, adding that the death tally might increase given the severity of some of the injuries.

Forensic examination indicated that the fire broke out due to an electrical malfunction in an air conditioner on the church’s second floor, which comprised a number of classrooms, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

The fire created heavy smoke that was the main cause of casualties, the ministry explained.

The prosecution also confirmed in a separate statement that preliminary investigations indicated that the cause of the fire was a short circuit.

Father Abdel Masih Bakhit, the priest of the church, was killed in the fire, the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Centre announced.

After 30 ambulances were dispatched the scene, all victims were transferred to Imbaba General Hospital and Al-Agouza Hospital for treatment, according to Health Ministry Spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar.

Abdel-Ghaffar added that all hospitals in Cairo and Giza governorates were put on emergency alert, noting that all the needed blood types and emergency medications were available in the hospitals that received the injured.

The ministry’s spokesperson pointed out that the ambulances rushed to the scene once they were alerted of the blaze at 8:57am, with the first ambulance arriving at 8:59am.

Civil defence forces rushed to the scene in efforts to tackle the blaze after the Giza Security Directorate was alerted of the incident.

The interior ministry said that five civil protection personnel, including two officers, were injured while controlling the fire.

A team from the Public Prosecution inspected the scene after the fire had been put out, according to a statement by the prosecutor's office.

The prosecution sent a team to visit the victims at the hospitals to 'inquire about their status;' they also ordered their criminal lab to prepare a report on the causes of the fire, according to the statement.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi extended condolences to Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and head of the Coptic Orthodox Church following the fire.

Tawadros, for his part, also extended condolences to the victims, saying he is following up on the incident with authorities.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly affirmed the government’s full support to the families of the victims and is following up to provide all forms of care to the injured as per El-Sisi’s directives, a cabinet statement read.

Madbouly visited the victims receiving medical treatment in the two hospitals accompanied by Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj, and Minister of Local Development Hisham Amna.

Additionally, Minister of Interior Mahmoud Tawfik and the General Prosecutor Hamada El-Sawy arrived at the site of the blaze to inspect the location of the fire.

In TV remarks, Madbouly said immediate compensation worth EGP 100,000 will be granted to each of the families of each deceased person and up to EGP 20,000 will be granted to the families of the injured based on the degree of the injury.

This is in addition to multiple forms of support that would be provided to the families of the victims, during the coming period, he said.

Also, Egypt’s top Islamic authority Al-Azhar and civil society organisations will pay additional compensation of EGP 50,000 to the families of the victims, El-Qabbaj said earlier.

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