Iraq Fire Incident: During a terrible fire that overtook a hall holding a Christian wedding in northern Iraq, over 100 people were killed and 150 others were injured.
The disaster, which occurred in the Hamdaniya district of Iraq's Nineveh province, near Mosul, has had a severe impact on the region's primarily .
Observers and rescue personnel could only see a spectacle of charred metal and rubble highlighted by the harsh glare of television cameras and the weak glow of observers' cell phones in the aftermath of the fire.
The local health service in Nineveh province acknowledged 114 deaths, while Health Ministry spokesperson Saif al-Badr said about 150 people were injured.
In response to the tragedy, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani immediately launched an investigation and directed Interior and Health officials to give prompt relief.
The origin of the fire has not been determined officially, however first reports from the Kurdish television news channel Rudaw claimed that pyrotechnics at the wedding venue may have prompted the disaster.
According to civil defence officials quoted by the Agency, the wedding hall's outside was covered with extremely combustible cladding, which was forbidden in the country.
When the fire broke out, these materials, characterised as "highly flammable, low-cost building materials," caused the rapid collapse of parts of the hall, worsening the severity of the incident.
Questions have been raised about why such dangerous cladding was allowed on the hall in Iraq, a country that has struggled for years with issues of corruption and incompetence, even two decades after the that toppled Saddam Hussein.
While some cladding materials can be designed to have fire-resistant properties, experts have noted that the materials used in this tragedy and others like it were not up to stricter safety standards and were frequently applied to buildings without measures to slow or stop potential fires.