- by theguardian
- 07 Oct 2022
A fire sparked by an electrical fault at a packed church in a working-class district of Greater Cairo has killed at least 41 people and injured another 45, Egyptian officials have said.
About 5,000 people had gathered at the Coptic Abu Sifin church in Imbaba, Giza, for Sunday morning services, when a fire broke out just before 9am local time (7am BST).
Flames and smoke blocked an entrance to the church, causing a crowd crush, security sources told Reuters, adding that most of those killed were children. Some people jumped from higher floors in an attempt to escape, witnesses said.
The church reportedly included a nursery for children. Witnesses described how people rushed into the burning building to rescue those trapped, but were soon overwhelmed by the heat and smoke.
Fifteen firefighting vehicles had managed to put out the blaze in the narrow street by Sunday afternoon, while footage from the scene circulated online showed damage to the church, including burnt wooden furniture. Worried families waited outside for news about missing loved ones.
The prime minister and other senior government officials arrived to inspect the site later on Sunday, as the prosecutor general, Hamada el-Sawy, ordered an investigation.
In March last year, a fire at a garment factory near Cairo killed at least 20 people and injured 24 more.