Devastating fire claims 93 lives at wedding venue in northern Iraq

27.09.2023 posted by Admin

Wedding venue blaze claims 93 lives

A devastating fire swept through a wedding venue in northern Iraq on Wednesday, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 93 lives and leaving around 100 individuals injured, as reported by Saad Maan, the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry.

The incident occurred at a wedding facility located in Hamdaniya, a town primarily inhabited by Christians, just outside the northern city of Mosul in Iraq. This town is situated approximately 205 miles northwest of the country's capital, Baghdad.

According to information from emergency responders and eyewitnesses present at the scene, the fire was ignited by fireworks that were being used within the venue.

The rapid and unexpected spread of the fire was attributed to the highly flammable construction materials and decorations, including curtains that covered both the walls and the ceiling of the facility, as revealed by the emergency rescue service in Nineveh province.

Distressing videos shared on social media showed the fire triggering panic among the wedding guests in the ballroom, leading to a frantic scramble for safety, including by the newlyweds.

With the primary entrance in close proximity to the flames, the approximately 700 individuals inside the building found themselves trapped. The situation quickly deteriorated, with witnesses describing a chaotic scene of darkness, smoke, and screams. People struggled to breathe, and there was a stampede as they attempted to escape. Tragically, a portion of the ceiling collapsed, resulting in additional casualties.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani promptly initiated an investigation into the fire and requested support from the country's interior and health ministries, as indicated in an online statement released by his office.

A source affiliated with the provincial government in Nineveh disclosed to CBS News that an inquiry would be conducted not only to determine the cause of the fire but also to assess whether the venue had been properly licensed, taking into account its inadequate safety measures.

This source, speaking under the condition of anonymity due to restrictions on discussing the incident with the media, revealed that the venue's owner had gone into hiding. Authorities hoped to locate the owner to subject them to an investigation regarding the legality of operating such an unsafe establishment.

Iraq has experienced similar tragic events in recent times, often attributed to substandard building materials and inadequate safety regulations. This includes two major fires in COVID-19 hospital wards in Baghdad and Nasiriyah, resulting in the loss of numerous lives.
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