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Egypt: 3 generations of one family die in deadly church fire

Egypt church fire victims Irene Atef, her three children, triplets Barthania, Meryam, Ibram Tamer [CoptyAfandy/Twitter]
Egypt church fire victims Irene Atef, her three children, triplets Barthania, Meryam, Ibram Tamer [CoptyAfandy/Twitter]

Three generations of one family died in the deadly fire that broke out in a church in the Giza neighbourhood of Cairo over the weekend.

Madga Nabih Habib, her daughter Irene Atef, her three children, triplets Barthania, Meryam, Ibram Tamer, and Magda's other daughter Mirna Atef all died in the fire at Abu Sifin Coptic Church, according to this Tweet.

However other news outlets have named the three children in the picture as five-year-old triplets Mohrael, Youssef and Philopator Bassem Amir.

In this photo circulating on Twitter, one mother stands beside a coffin and holds up three fingers to represent the children she lost.

During Sunday mass a fire engulfed the Cairo church killing 41 people including 18 children and wounding 45. The Egyptian Health Minister has said that an electrical malfunction caused the blaze.

There was a power cut before the fire, the minister said, and when the power returned an electricity generator exploded.

Some witnesses told the Washington Post that emergency services were slow to arrive on the scene which resulted in more deaths than was necessary.

Egypt: electrical malfunction caused deadly church fire

Because the flames were blocking the only entrance and exit to the church many of the victims died in a stampede of people attempting to escape.

There was a nursery on the first floor of the church which is why so many of the victims were children.

Public figures shared their condolences with the families affected by the tragedy, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

And the Secretary-General of the UN.

There has been a string of deadly fires in Egypt over the last several months because of low fire safety standards.

In January a fire spread across the historic quarter of Cairo, close to the Al-Hussein mosque, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, after a gas cylinder exploded.

In December 2020 seven patients died and several others were injured after a fire engulfed a private hospital on the outskirts of Cairo.

In March 2021 20 people died after a fire destroyed a four-storey textile factory north of Cairo.

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