By Charles Igwe
Pope Francis has conveyed his deep sorrow upon hearing about a devastating fire in southeastern Benin, which claimed the lives of at least 35 people, including a child. In a telegram sent on his behalf by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the Pope expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.
The Holy Father’s message was directed to Bishop Aristide Gonsallo of Porto-Novo, whose diocese includes the city of Sèmè Krakè, where the tragic incident occurred on September 23. Pope Francis conveyed his prayers for the souls of the deceased, entrusting them to God’s infinite mercy, and extended his prayers for the swift recovery of those who were injured.
Furthermore, Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with all those providing support and assistance to the victims of the fire. He invoked the intercession of Our Lady, asking her to grant strength and solace to all affected by the tragedy. The Pope concluded by invoking divine blessings upon each individual affected and the entire nation, as a symbol of comfort during this difficult time.
The fire reportedly erupted in a shop during the unloading of gasoline. The Chief Prosecutor confirmed that the blaze destroyed the store and resulted in the tragic loss of 35 lives. An investigation has been initiated to determine the exact cause of the fire.