The fire of an Orthodox church in Egypt “caused by a short circuit”

A fire at a Coptic Orthodox church in Egypt’s Giza province during Sunday mass that claimed the lives of at least 41 people was caused by a short circuit in a generator, according to the attorney general.

According to initial findings, the fire was caused by a short circuit. [Getty]

The major fire at the Abi Sefein Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt’s Giza province, west of the capital Cairo, during Sunday mass was caused by “a short circuit in a generator”, said the Attorney General in a press release.

The final casualty count indicates that the fire left 41 people dead, including more than a dozen children and a priest. Another 16 people were injured, including four firefighters, mostly from Asphyxiation, the statement read Monday.

Attorney General Hamada El-Sawy, accompanied by the coroner, examined the bodies shortly after the fire was extinguished and concluded that they had all died of asphyxiation.

A total of 14 victims were interviewed after being treated at nearby hospitals, while crime scene investigators were tasked with establishing the reasons for the incident and how it happened. Foul play has been ruled out so far.

Last night a funeral was held amid heavy media presence at two churches in Giza.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Grand Imam Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb and other senior officials paid tribute to Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II.

Social media users and local media expressed their sympathy to the families of the victims, sharing a photo of a five-year-old triplet who lost his life in the fire and a Muslim man named Mohamed who was injured while that he saved the lives of five children.

Several Arab states expressed their condolences, including the Foreign Ministries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, Jordanian Foreign Ministry and Expatriates Spokesman Haitham Abul and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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