Egypt: Church fire in Imbaba kills 41, including 18 children

Sunday, the Egyptian ministry of health declared that 41 persons died and 14 were injured in the massive fire of Abu Seifin Church in the Imababa district of Giza city. Eyewitnesses said fire engines arrived an hour and a half after the people called it at 9:00 am, although the fire engines station is only one and a half kilometres from the Church. Meanwhile, the people in the area cooperated to rescue the injured and the bodies of the dead.

According to the forensic evidence, the ministry of interior said the fire resulted from a blaze caused by an electric short-circuit in the air conditioner put on the Church’s second floor that involves classrooms for the children, which killed 18 children. Most deaths were caused by suffocation by the fire’s smoke.

Minister of Health, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, stated in a visit to the injured in Imbaba Public Hospital that blocks of wood were present in the Church which increased smoke eruption and suffocation of the crowd that gathered in the Church for the Sunday morning prayer. “We are in continuous contact with the local authorities and the Health Ministry,” said Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of Alexandria Orthodox Cathedral, according to the church spokesperson. The fire accident and the high toll stimulated angry reactions on social media, with several people commenting on the shortage of safety measures in the buildings and the poor performance of fire and rescue services.