A tragic incident occurred in northern Iraq when a fire erupted at a wedding celebration, resulting in a devastating toll. State media has confirmed that over 100 individuals lost their lives, while approximately 150 others sustained injuries.
Reports indicate that both the bride and groom were among the victims of this catastrophic event, which unfolded late on Tuesday evening in the Al-Hamdaniya district of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province. The precise cause of the fire remains uncertain, but preliminary accounts suggest that it ignited following the ignition of fireworks.
Photographs released by the Iraqi news agency Nina depict a scene of numerous firefighters bravely combating the blaze. Social media posts by local journalists reveal the aftermath of the incident, showcasing the charred remnants of the venue. It is suspected that the presence of flammable panels within the building exacerbated the fire’s spread, resulting in sections of the ceiling collapsing.
Iraq’s civil defence directorate remarked, “The fire led to the collapse of parts of the hall as a result of the use of highly flammable, low-cost building materials that collapse within minutes when fire breaks out,” as reported by another news agency, Nina.
In harrowing scenes, firefighters were seen searching through the rubble of the structure in the early hours of Wednesday morning, as documented in video footage by a Reuters news agency correspondent at the scene.
Eyewitnesses disclosed that the building was hosting a gathering with hundreds of attendees when the fire erupted at approximately 10:45 local time (19:45 GMT). Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old who managed to escape the inferno, recounted, “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,” in an interview with Reuters.
Iraqi authorities swiftly dispatched ambulances and medical teams to the site, as confirmed in official statements. The Prime Minister of Iraq instructed officials to “mobilize all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident,” as relayed by his office via the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
The injured individuals have been transported to hospitals throughout the Nineveh region, with the region’s governor indicating that the number of casualties is subject to change and may unfortunately rise.
In Hamdaniyah, the primary hospital in a town east of the regional capital Mosul, numerous individuals arrived to donate blood to aid the injured in this time of crisis.