- Fire broke out during gathering for Mass
- Church located in city of Giza near Cairo
- At least 45 people injured in blaze
An electrical fire swept through an Egyptian Coptic Christian church during Mass on Sunday, causing a stampede and killing at least 41 people, most of them children and many suffering from smoke inhalation.
The blaze started just before 9 AM in the Abu Sifin church in the city of Giza where about up to 1,000 people had gathered.
The fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing the stampede, the two sources said, adding that most of those killed were children.
“People were gathering on the third and fourth floor, and we saw smoke coming from the second floor. People rushed to go down the stairs and started falling on top of each other,” said worshipper Yasir Munir.
“Then we heard a bang and sparks and fire coming out of the window,” he said, saying he and his daughter were on the ground floor and able to escape.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said a forensic examination showed that the fire began in the second-floor air conditioning as a result of an electrical malfunction.