A fire ripped through a large banquet hall in Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least 114 people and injuring 150 celebrating a Christian wedding, authorities announced.
The fast-moving fire burned the hall to the ground in the predominantly Christian area of Hamdaniya in Nineveh province, authorities said.
The exterior walls of the event space were reportedly covered with a highly flammable coating that is illegal in the country, civil defense officials were quoted as saying by the Iraqi state news agency.
“The fire caused parts of the room to collapse as a result of the use of highly flammable and inexpensive building materials that collapse within minutes when the fire breaks out,” the civil defense said.
All that remained of the site was charred metal and debris after the fire was extinguished.
It is unclear how the use of illegal cladding at the site managed to bypass authorities.
Authorities warned that the death toll could exceed 114. AFP via Getty Images The deadly fire devastated the site, which had a highly flammable exterior cladding. AFP via Getty Images
The building material used to cover the exterior of a structure is banned in several countries that experienced similar deadly fires in structures clad with flammable coatings.
Often the material is not designed to meet the same safety standards as structural materials.
The cause of the fire is still being determined, but fireworks in the room may have ignited the flames, Kurdish news channel Rudaw reported.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani called for an investigation into the deadly inferno and ordered the country’s interior and health officials to provide aid to those affected.
A view of what the wedding venue looked like after the fatal fire in Iraq.REUTERSPeople were seen crying after a fire killed more than 100 people at a wedding celebration.REUTERS
The health department of Nineveh province said the death toll was 114 and Health Ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said the number of injured was about 150 via the Iraqi News Agency, although Authorities warned that both numbers could increase.
“Every effort is being made to provide aid to those affected by the unfortunate accident,” al-Badr said.
Many of the injured were treated at local hospitals where they were given oxygen.
With postal cables