The government investigation into the fire that occurred at a wedding hall in a northern Iraqi town, resulting in the death of over 100 people, has attributed the tragedy to “gross negligence” and a lack of safety measures. The investigation findings, announced by interior minister Abdul Amir al-Shammari at a news conference, revealed that the owner of the hall and three staff members allowed 900 people into a venue designed for a maximum of 400. The investigation concluded that the fire was accidental and unintentional, but was able to spread quickly due to the use of flammable decorations.
According to Shammari, the fire transformed the hall into a fireball, as the flammable decorations facilitated its rapid spread. The blaze trapped individuals inside the wedding hall, and rescue teams faced difficulties in reaching them due to the limited number and size of exit doors. The incident resulted in at least 150 injuries. The town of Hamdaniya, also known as Qaraqosh, where the fire occurred, is predominantly Christian.
The interior minister confirmed a death toll of 107 and stated that the investigation panel recommended the government provide financial support to the families of the deceased and injured. Additionally, the investigation called for legal action to be taken against local officials. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani visited victims of the fire at two local hospitals and promised to hold those responsible accountable.
The article was reported by Ahmed Rasheed and edited by Jane Merriman, adhering to the Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles.
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