Dozens killed in Egypt church fire: police

Cairo: A fire ripped through a packed Coptic Orthodox church during morning services in Egypt’s capital on Sunday, quickly filling it with thick black smoke and killing 41 worshippers, including at least 10 children.

Several people jumped from upper floors of the Martyr Abu Sefein church to try to escape the intense flames, witnesses said.

Mousa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church, told the AP that five-year-old triplets, their mother, grandmother and an aunt were among those killed.

Police stand near a car damaged by a fire that tore through the church.Credit:

The cause of the blaze at the church in the working class neighbourhood of Imbaba was not immediately known. An initial investigation pointed to an electrical short-circuit, according to a police statement.

Witnesses said there were many children inside the four-storey building when the fire broke out.

“There are children, we didn’t know how to get to them,” said a witness Abu Bishoy.

“And we don’t know whose son this is, or whose daughter that is.”

A hospital document obtained by The Associated Press said the Imbaba public hospital received 20 bodies, including 10 children. The church bishop, Abdul Masih Bakhit, was also among the dead at the hospital morgue.

Twenty-one bodies were taken to other hospitals.

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