The Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt announced on Sunday that the number of victims of the Abu-Seifein church fire in the Imbaba area of Giza has risen to 41 deaths, and 14 injured.
The fire in Abu-Seifein Church broke out during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.
The Pope of Alexandria, Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, Pope Tawadros II offered his condolences for the victims of the fire.
He stressed that he is following up with the concerned authorities all matters related to the accident.
“We are following with sadness the tragic incident that occurred this morning in the Church of Abu-Seifein in the Imbaba airport area, and we are in constant contact with local leaders in the governorate, the Ministry of Health and all officials. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and pray for the injured and wounded, trusting that the hand of God will have mercy on us all,” he said.
Air conditioning malfunction
A statement by the Interior Ministry said that the fire resulted in the injury of two police officers and three members of the civil protection forces, who participated in the efforts to extinguish the fire, evacuate the injured and the dead, and transport them to hospitals.
Security and judicial sources revealed that the initial examination of the criminal lab and the Public Prosecution, stated that the fire was caused by a short circuit in the generator feeding the church, which led to the spread of the fire to the rest of the church.
The statement added that “Examination of the forensic evidence agencies revealed that the fire broke out in an air conditioning on the second floor of the church building, which includes classrooms, as a result of an electrical fault, and this led to the emission of a thick amount of smoke, which was the main cause of injuries and deaths.”
A security source said that the emergency operations’ room in Giza governorate received a report that a fire broke out in Saint Abu-Seifein Church, and immediately a force from the Civil Protection moved to Giza, and three firefighting vehicles were dispatched to control the fire in addition to ambulances.
The Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar directed the urgent provision of all emergency and medical services to the victims of the fire accident.
A statement by the ministry said that 30 ambulances were dispatched to the site of the fire, and the injured were transferred to the two hospitals (Imbaba General and Agouza) to receive treatment.
Abdel-Ghaffar noted he would raise the state of readiness in the hospitals in Giza and Cairo governorates, adding that all emergency medicines are available in all hospitals that received the injured.
The minister noted that the ambulance authority was informed with the fire at 8:57 am, and immediately the first ambulance moved from the nearest point in the Imbaba airport area and arrived at the site of the accident at 8:59 am.
More ambulances continued to arrive.
Sisi offers his condolences
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made a phone call to Pope Tawadros II, in which he offered his condolences for the victims of the Giza church accident.
During the call, President Sisi stressed that all state institutions will provide the necessary support to contain the effects of this tragic accident.
All legal measures were taken regarding the incident, and the Public Prosecution is investigating the accident.