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100 Die, 150 Injured As Fire Breaks Out At Wedding In Iraq



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

No less than 100 people have died and more than 150 injured after a fire broke out during a wedding at an event hall in Al-Hamdaniyah town of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.

Hundreds of people were celebrating in Al-Hamdaniyah when a fire tore through the venue late on Tuesday evening.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but early reports say it broke out after fireworks were lit and inflammable panels in the venue might have fuelled the flames, causing parts of the ceiling to catch fire and fall.

“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 collapsed within minutes when fire breaks out,” Iraq’s civil defence directorate stated.

It was not clear if the bride and the groom were among the victims. Initial reports in Iraqi media said they had died in the blaze, later reporting that they were alive but were being treated for burns.

A photo posted by Nina showed dozens of firefighters battling the fire, and pictures from local journalists on social media show the charred-out remains inside the event hall.

Firefighters were seen climbing over the wreckage of the building in search of survivors on Wednesday morning.

Eyewitnesses said hundreds of people were there celebrating when the building caught fire at around 10:45 local time (19:45 GMT) on Tuesday.

“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,” Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old who escaped the inferno, told an international news agency.

Another wedding guest, Rania Waad, who sustained a bụrn to her hand, said that as the bride and groom were slow dancing “fireworks started to climb to the ceiling, the whole hall went up in flames. We couldn’t see anything. We were suffocating, we didn’t know how to get out.”

The deputy governor of Nineveh, Hassan al-Allaq, told reporters that 113 people had been confirmed dead, while state news agency INA put the death toll at at least 100, with 150 people injured.

The injured have been transferred to hospitals across the Nineveh region, the region’s governor told INA, suggesting that the number of deaths and injuries was not fixed and may rise.

Report says at the main hospital in Hamdaniyah, which is east of the region’s capital Mosul, dozens of people arrived to donate blood to help the injured.

Iraq’s prime minister posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had directed officials to “mobilise all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident.”