At least 100 people have died and more than 150 have been injured in a fire that broke out during wedding celebrations in Iraq’s Nineveh province. With reference to the Iraqi media, world agencies reported on this on Wednesday night.
The deputy governor of Nineveh province, Hasan Allak, speaks of up to 113 dead. Initial reports indicate that the fire may have been caused by fireworks used during the ceremony, Al Jazeera reported. The authorities have not yet officially confirmed the cause of the tragedy.
BBC News reported last night that, according to local media, a bride and groom were among the victims. She later wrote that it was unclear whether they were among the dead or wounded.
The building caught fire around 10:45 p.m. local time (9:45 p.m. CEST), with hundreds of people inside at the time, witnesses at the scene told Reuters. Video from the scene showed firefighters trying to get over the charred wreckage of the building and searching for survivors, Reuters reported.
According to the media, the fire spread through the vast banquet hall, which was apparently built with highly flammable materials, which may have contributed to its rapid collapse. Civil defense officials described the exterior of the wedding hall as decorated with highly flammable cladding, which is illegal in the country, the AP reported.
She also published a video, among other things, from the hospital where the rescuers took the injured. One of the witnesses describes how the roof of the building caught fire after the fireworks were set off. “The whole hall was in flames within seconds,” said the man.
Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Sudani called on the authorities to “mobilize all efforts” to provide aid to those affected by the tragic event. He also ordered an investigation into the accident.
The tragedy took place in the district of Hamdanija. This is a predominantly Christian area located near the city of Mosul and about 335 kilometers northwest of the capital Baghdad, the AP agency noted.