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Church of Jesus Christ Offers Condolences After Fire Kills 40+ in Egypt

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The Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has offered condolences after an electrical fire at an Egyptian Coptic Christian church killed at least 41 people, most of them children. The Presidency, comprised of Anthony D. Perkins, Alvin F. Meredith III, and Roland J. Bäck released the following statement:

We are saddened by the heartbreaking fire at the Coptic Abu Sifin church in Giza, Egypt. We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and join with friends around the world to pray that everyone impacted by this tragedy will be blessed with comfort.

The fire swept through the church just before 9 a.m. on Sunday while parishioners attended Mass. A stampede occurred, according to sources, when the fire blocked one of the entrances to the church.

“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.

Forty-one people have died, including at least 18 children who’d been in a nursery room. Another 45 people were injured. The blaze lasted for nearly two hours and most of the deaths were attributed to smoke inhalation or being crushed in the stampede when the worshipers tried to escape from the fourth floor, where the services were held. It is unclear how many people were inside the building; some report as few as 100 while others report that 5,000 were on the site in total. Official reports state the fire was caused by a faulty air-conditioning unit.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a tweet, “I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims that have passed on to be with their Lord in one of his houses of worship.”

Featured Image | REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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