A scene from a fire in Benin A scene from a fire in Benin  (AFP or licensors)

Pope prays for victims of tragic fire in Benin

Pope Francis sends a telegram of condolences expressing his sorrow for a tragic incident in the West African nation of Benin in which at least 35 people lost their lives.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis says he is deeply saddened to learn of a tragic fire in southeastern Benin which killed at least 35 people, including one child.

In a telegram sent on his behalf by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Pope says he joins the victims' families in mourning.

In the message addressed to Bishop Aristide Gonsallo of Porto-Novo whose diocese includes  the city of Sèmè Krakè where the tragedy happened on 23 September, the Pope says he  “prays for the repose of the deceased, entrusting them to God's mercy, and for the recovery of the injured.”

The Holy Father also expresses his support for those accompanying the victims of the fire. He prays to Our Lady “to bring strength and consolation to all those affected by the tragedy,” and invokes divine blessings on each person and on the entire nation as a sign of comfort.

The fire

The fire broke out at a shop where witnesses said gasoline was being unloaded.

The Chief Prosecutor said the fire burned down the store and “according to an initial assessment resulted in 35 deaths. He added that an investigation has been opened to determine the cause.


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26 September 2023, 14:02