ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief over the loss of lives after 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.
The blaze started just before 9:00 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 told Reuters, adding that most of those killed were children.
The prime minister, on behalf of the people of Pakistan, extended his condolences to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the families of the deceased, his office said on Monday.
Sharif also prayed for the speedy recovery of the wounded.
Deeply grieved by the loss of precious lives in a tragic fire incident in Abu Sefein Church in Giza, Egypt. On behalf of the people of Pakistan, I extend my most sincere condolences to @AlSisiOfficial & families of the deceased and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) August 15, 2022
Electrical fires are not rare in Egypt. But Sunday’s blaze was one of the worst fire tragedies in recent years in Egypt, where safety standards and fire regulations are poorly enforced.
In March last year, a fire at a garment factory near Cairo killed at least 20 people and injured 24. Similar, in late 2020, a fire at a hospital treating Covid-19 patients killed at least seven people.
— With Reuters, AP