VIDEO | Terrible fire at a wedding in Iraq: Over a hundred dead, dozens seriously injured

Fire at a wedding in Iraq / Photo: AA/ABACA / Abaca Press / Profimedia

At least one hundred people died and 150 were injured in a fire at a wedding celebration in Hamdania district in the Iraqi province of Nineveh, Iraqi state media reported early this morning, reports Reuters. Local sources indicate that the number of victims may be higher.

More than 450 people attended the wedding, according to an announcement by the Iraqi Red Crescent on X.

Najim al-Jubouri, the governor of Nineveh province, where the fire broke out, said earlier that there was no final death toll yet, indicating that the death toll could continue to rise. Nineveh's deputy governor, Hassan al-Alak, also told Reuters earlier that 113 people had been confirmed dead.

The fire, the local civil defense said, engulfed the large hall where the wedding was held, after fireworks were set off during the celebration. Video from the scene by a Reuters correspondent showed firefighters climbing over the burned building in search of survivors.

Initial information indicates that the building was made of highly flammable construction materials, which contributed to its rapid collapse, Iraqi state media reported. According to official statements, Iraqi federal authorities and authorities in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq sent ambulances and medical teams to the scene of the tragedy.

"The fire caused parts of the hall to collapse as a result of the use of highly flammable, cheap building materials that collapse within minutes when a fire breaks out," Iraq's Civil Defense Authority said.

Witnesses said hundreds of people were celebrating there when the building caught fire around 10:45 a.m. local time. "We saw the fire pulsing in and out of the hall. Those who got out got out, and those who didn't were stuck," Imad Yohanna, a 34-year-old who escaped, told Reuters.

Another wedding guest, Rania Waad, who suffered burns to her hand, said the fireworks "started going up to the ceiling" as the bride and groom danced. The whole hall was on fire. We couldn't see anything," the 17-year-old girl told the AFP news agency. "We were suffocating, we didn't know how to get out," she added.

The newlyweds also died in the fire, said Ahmed Dubardani, deputy head of health administration in Nineveh. Addressing journalists at a press conference, he added that at least fifty people are in critical condition, at least half of whom have suffered burns.

"Most of the injured were completely burned. And some burned 50 to 60 percent of their bodies. This is not good at all,” he said. He added that most of the injured are young men and women, and so far no one has been discharged from the hospital.

Iraqi Health Ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said most of the people died from severe burns and suffocation.

Rescuers are still searching the charred ruins. People gathered in the courtyard of a nearby hospital to donate blood. A refrigerated truck loaded with black bags arrived at the scene of the tragedy.

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