At least 41people are thought to have died following a church fire in Egypt, reports have stated.
The fire allegedly broke out while a service was underway Sunday morning with sources telling Reuters that it was caused by an electrical malfunction as worshippers gathered for mass.
One source said the fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing a stampede.
“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 stared falling on top of each other,” said Yasir Munir, a worshipper at the church.
“Then we heard a bang and sparks and fire coming out of the window,” he said, saying he and his daughter were on the ground floor and able to escape.
Fifteen fire engines were dispatched to the scene to put out the flames while ambulances ferried the casualties to nearby hospitals.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke by phone with the Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II to offer his condolences, the president’s office said.
“I am closely following the developments of the tragic accident,” al-Sisi wrote on Facebook.
“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.”