Fire At Wedding Kills Over 100 Attendees

( – Roughly 100 people are dead and over 150 were seriously burned after an inferno ripped through a crowded wedding venue in Nineveh, Iraq on Tuesday, September 26th. Local officials said that they estimated the number of attendees at the wedding to be around 1,000 people.

The Al Haithem wedding chapel is located in the Hamdaniya district in the northern part of the country. Mayor Issam Behnam said that he had lost multiple relatives in the blaze.

Witnesses described the use of flares fired at the ceiling inside the venue which may have sparked the fire. Flares are a local tradition, but generally, they’re deployed outdoors.

Iraqi PM Mohammed S. Al-Sudani ordered local and federal authorities to help with the fire. The ministries of health and interior provided immediate relief to the victims, engaged in rescue efforts, and offered other forms of assistance.

The PM ordered a national three-day period of mourning for the victims and suggested a committee be established to investigate the cause. He said that any violations of building codes or improper safety protocols would be examined and punished if found.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq published official condolences, the organization has supported and advised the Iraqi government since 2003. It said they were shocked by the stunning loss of life and number of injuries sustained in the blaze and called it “an immense tragedy.” They also wished a quick recovery for those injured.

Video of the event shows flares sparking upward toward the ceiling shortly before the ceiling catches fire. Panicked guests then attempted to flee as the fire quickly spread. Witnesses describe being engulfed in smoke, unable to discern where the exits were. Rania Waad, 17, suffered a burn on her hand and said that the fireworks were to blame as far as she could tell.

The bride and groom both perished, and approximately 50 of the injured were listed as critical.

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