At least 100 people have died and 150 others have been injured in a fire that broke out at a wedding ceremony in northern Iraq. Hundreds of people were celebrating in Al-Hamdaniya in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province on Tuesday evening when fire broke out at the venue.
It is not yet known what caused the fire, but initial reports say it broke out after fireworks were lit. It is thought the panels may have caught fire, causing sections of the ceiling to become engulfed in flames and fall.
“The fire led to the collapse of parts of the hall as a result of the use of highly flammable and low-cost construction materials that collapse within minutes when the fire breaks out,” Iraq’s civil defense directorate was quoted as saying by state news agency INA. .
It was not clear if the bride and groom were among the victims. Initial reports in Iraqi media said they had died in the flames, while the Nina news agency later reported they were alive but being treated for burns.
A photo posted by Nina showed dozens of firefighters battling the blaze, and photos from local journalists on social media show charred remains inside the event hall.
Nineveh’s deputy governor, Hassan al-Allaq, said 113 people had been confirmed dead, while state news agency INA said the death toll was at least 100, with 150 wounded.
The wounded have been transferred to hospitals across the Nineveh region, the region’s governor told INA. But according to him the number of deaths and injuries could increase.