More than 110 killed, over 150 injured in Iraq wedding hall fire

Soldiers and emergency responders gather around ambulances carrying wounded people outside the Hamdaniya general hospital in Hamdaniya, Iraq on September 27, 2023. (Photo/AFP)

More than 100 people were killed and over 150 wounded when fire broke out at a wedding celebration in the district of Hamdaniya in Iraq's Nineveh province, state media and local officials said.

Nineveh Deputy Governor Hasan al Allaq said 113 people had been confirmed dead.

Health officials early on Wednesday "recorded 100 deaths and more than 150 injured as a preliminary toll as a result of the wedding hall fire incident in Al Hamdaniya," Ministry of Health spokesman Saif al Badr told the Iraqi News Agency [INA].

"All efforts are being made to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate accident."

Najim al Jubouri, the provincial governor of Nineveh, said some of the injured had been transferred to regional hospitals. He cautioned there were no final casualty figures yet from the blaze, which suggests the death toll still may rise.

Eyewitnesses at the site said the building caught fire at around 10:45 pm local time [1945 GMT] and that hundreds of people were in attendance at the time of the incident.

Television footage showed charred debris inside of the wedding hall as a man shouted at firefighters.

"We saw the fire pulsating, coming out of the hall. Those who managed got out and those who didn't got stuck. Even those who made their way out were broken," said Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old who escaped the inferno.

Construction of site under scanner

Survivors arrived at local hospitals, receiving oxygen and bandaged, as their families milled through hallways and outside as workers organized more oxygen cylinders.

In a brief statement, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani called on the ministers of health and the interior to "mobilise all rescue efforts" to help the victims of the fire.

In a statement, civil defence authorities reported the presence of prefabricated panels that were "highly flammable and contravened safety standards" inside the event hall where the blaze took place.

"The fire caused some parts of the ceiling to fall due to the use of highly flammable, low-cost construction materials," the statement said.

"Preliminary information indicates that fireworks were used during a wedding, which triggered a fire in the hall."


Source: TRT