Wedding party fire in Iraq kills over 100
A fire at a wedding party in Nineveh, Iraq left more than 100 people dead and some 150 injured, according to local officials and media reports, which suggested fireworks had set off the blaze by accident.
The conflagration tore through an event venue in the Hamdaniya district of Nineveh province on Tuesday night going into Wednesday, with the region’s Deputy Governor Hasan al-Allaq telling Reuters that 113 people were confirmed dead. State media agencies placed the death toll at at least 100, in addition to another 150 people injured.
Civil defense officials cited in local news reports said the fire broke out after fireworks were lit as part of the wedding celebration, and quickly spread to engulf the building. The venue was reportedly “covered with highly flammable Ecobond panels” which contributed to the speed of its collapse, the civil defense agency said, adding that the materials violated safety regulations.
Multiple agencies sent emergency crews to the site for rescue efforts, including the federal government and departments of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Footage circulating online showed firefighters climbing through the charred wreckage of the building searching for survivors.
BREAKING: More than 500 injured, 100 killed in wedding hall fire in Iraq.Aftermath video: pic.twitter.com/HiwbAJiK7i— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) September 27, 2023
Another brief clip making the rounds on social media was alleged to show the fire itself, with burning debris seen falling from the ceiling as panicked party-goers began to flee the building.
Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani noted the incident in a statement, directing the interior and health ministries to mobilize relief for victims of the blaze. The premier added that he would reach out to the Nineveh governor “to find out the repercussions of the fire that occurred in one of the wedding halls in the al-Hamdaniya district.”