A fire at a wedding in northern Iraq has killed at least 100 people and injured 150 others, according to the Iraqi state news agency INA citing local authorities.
The disaster in the Hamdaniya district of northeast Nineveh governorate, was set off by fireworks, candles, and other materials used during the wedding celebration, the Iraqi Civil Defense said.
Nineveh governor Najm Al-Jubouri told the Iraqi state news agency INA that the injured were transferred to hospitals in Nineveh and the Kurdistan region.
“There is no final count of the deceased and injured yet,” Al-Jubouri said, according to INA.
Videos from the scene show thick smoke billowing out of the at the Al Haytham Wedding Hall while crowds and ambulances gather outside.
A wedding guest told local media that the bride and groom were safe but devastated.
“The bride and groom are fine. I was just with them now, but their condition is devastating due to what happened to people here,” the guest told private Iraqi channel Alawla TV.
The wedding hall where the fire broke out was covered with highly flammable Ecobond panels that violated safety instructions requirements, according to the Iraqi Civil Defense, ANI reported.
“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,” the Civil Defense statement said.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa Al-Sudani has instructed his cabinet to assist those affected by the fire, according to a statement from his office.
The Iraqi leader has been in touch with the Nineveh governor by telephone about the incident and ordered a full mobilization to aid the victims, according to his office and INA.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.