At Least 100 Dead, 150 Injured in Fire at Wedding Party in Iraq

A fire erupted at a wedding in northern Iraq, resulting in at least 100 fatalities and 150 injuries, according to state media reports.

The incident occurred in Al-Hamdaniya, located in the northern Nineveh province of Iraq, where hundreds were gathered to celebrate. The fire engulfed the venue late Tuesday evening.

The origin of the fire remains uncertain, however, preliminary reports suggest that it started after the ignition of fireworks. It is believed that the bride and groom are alive, but hospitalized with burn injuries.

Earlier media reports from Iraq inaccurately stated that the couple had perished in the fire.

A photo disseminated by the Iraqi news agency Nina depicted numerous firefighters working to control the blaze, and additional images by local reporters on social media display the burnt remains of the banquet hall.

The building’s flammable construction materials may have facilitated the rapid spreading of the fire, leading to ceiling collapses.

Iraq’s civil defence directorate stated, as cited by another news agency Nina, “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.”

Footage recorded by a Reuters correspondent showed firefighters navigating through the debris, seeking survivors in the early hours of Wednesday.

Witnesses conveyed that hundreds were present and celebrating when the structure became ablaze around 10:45 local time (19:45 GMT).

Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old survivor, narrated to Reuters, “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,”

Iraqi authorities dispatched ambulances and medical teams to the location, as stated in official announcements.

The Prime Minister of Iraq urged officials to “mobilise all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident,” as stated by his office on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.

The wounded individuals have been allocated to various hospitals in the Nineveh area, and the regional governor, speaking to INA, indicated that the count of deceased and injured might escalate.

At Hamdaniya’s primary hospital, situated east of the provincial capital Mosul, numerous individuals volunteered to donate blood to assist the wounded.