Fire at Coptic church in Cairo kills 41, hurts 55

Egypt’s Coptic Church has said 41 people were killed and 55 were injured in a fire at a church in the city of Giza, near Cairo.

The Coptic Church cited health officials in reporting the casualty toll. It said the fire broke out while a service was underway.

Egypt’s health ministry had earlier said “several” people have been killed on Sunday at the Abu Sifin Coptic church in the Imbaba neighbourhood.

It was one of the worst fire tragedies in Egypt in recent years.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known. An initial investigation pointed to an electrical short-circuit, according to a police statement.

Fifteen firefighting vehicles were dispatched to the scene to put out the flames while ambulances ferried casualties to nearby hospitals, AP reported.

The Health Ministry said ambulances transferred at least 55 injured people to local hospitals.

The Interior Ministry said it received a report on the fire at 9 a.m. local time, and that they found that the blaze broke out in an air conditioner in the building’s second story.

The ministry, which oversees police and firefighters, blamed an electrical short-circuit for the fire, which produced huge amounts of smoke.