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Church on fire in Sohag

Nader Shukry

20 May 2013 5:06 pm

A massive fire erupted at 11pm last night in the church of the Holy Virgin in the village of Tama, Sohag, in Upper Egypt, and spread to several Coptic-owned neighbouring houses. There were no casualties, but a number of individuals suffered burns and suffocation and were moved to hospitals. The number of injured has not been announced.

 
A massive fire erupted at 11pm last night in the church of the Holy Virgin in the village of Tama, Sohag, in Upper Egypt, and spread to several Coptic-owned neighbouring houses. There were no casualties, but a number of individuals suffered burns and suffocation and were moved to hospitals. The number of injured has not been announced.
According to Father Pola Samaan, the priest of the Holy Virgin’s, the two-floor church building dates back to 1935 and is constructed on a wooden skeleton, which worked to make the flames rise quickly and spread. Attached to the church is a taller building that houses a community service centre which also caught fire and suffered huge losses.
The locals failed to control the fire. Eight fire trucks arrived hours after the fire had erupted and spread, and only put out the flames in the early hours of Monday, which led to extensive losses. The police moved to the scene of events but, until 5:00am on Monday the reason behind the fire had not yet been determined nor the extent of losses assessed, since the smoke and fumes were still too dense for anyone to go inside.
The last few months have seen several fires erupt in churches; the most recent was the fire which erupted two months ago in the church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Kafr Tuhormus in Giza and which devoured six neighbouring Coptic-owned houses. The standard official reason cited in all the cases was that the fire was because of an electric short circuit, which gave way to doubts among Copts that their churches and property may be targeted by extremists. “Why do electric short circuits largely occur in churches?”
 
Watani International
20 May 2013


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