At least 41 people have died and another 14 have been injured in a fire that has been registered this Sunday in a church in the Imbaba neighborhood, southwest of Cairo, according to the Coptic Church.
“Sources from the Ministry of Health say that the dead have reached 41 so far, while 14 people have been injured,” the Coptic Church said in a statement posted on its official Facebook account.
The ecclesiastical institution, citing sources from the Ministry of Health, explained that the fire took place in the church of El Mártir Abu Sefein in the Imbaba area during this morning’s mass attended by some 5,000 people. So far, the Ministry has only given “55 cases” transferred to hospitals, without providing a number of deaths.
Security sources have assured that, according to initial investigations, the fire originated in the air conditioning unit on the second floor of the church building, which includes several classrooms, due to an electrical fault. The failure would have caused the emission of a thick amount of smoke that would have been the main cause of death, although no further details have emerged.
The same sources have explained that among the wounded there are two Egyptian officers and three members of the Civil Defense. Sources from the Ministry of Health have assured that the number of deceased has increased after the death of several wounded who were in a very critical condition.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Hossam Abdelghaffar, explained in a statement that the first call to the ambulance was given at 8:57 local time and that the first ambulance arrived just two minutes after the alert.
The president of Egypt, Abdelfatah al Sisi, has offered condolences to the families of the “innocent” victims in a note posted on his official Facebook account. “I am closely following the developments of the tragic incident in the church… and have ordered all relevant state apparatuses and institutions to take all necessary measures, and immediately deal with this incident and its effects, and provide all medical care for the wounded.