A devastating fire ignited by fireworks at an event hall in Hamdaniya on September 26, resulting in the tragic loss of over 100 lives during a crowded wedding ceremony, with at least 150 others sustaining injuries. The Kurdistan Region responded with immediate aid and support, while authorities launched investigations into the incident.
In a heart-wrenching turn of events, a devastating fire ignited by fireworks during a joyous wedding ceremony at an event hall in Hamdaniya on September 26 resulted in the tragic loss of over 100 lives. This horrific incident, which also left at least 150 individuals injured, has sent shockwaves through the local community and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).
The wedding ceremony turned into a nightmare when fireworks intended to add to the festive atmosphere sparked a fire that quickly spread throughout the event hall. With many guests in attendance, chaos ensued as people tried to escape the rapidly intensifying blaze. Despite the heroic efforts of first responders and brave individuals who rushed to the scene to help, the scale of the tragedy was immense.
Christian religious leaders visiting the site of the Hamdaniyah wedding fire incident on September 27, 2023, to show their support
Hamdaniya is situated in the northeastern part of the Nineveh Governorate, 35 kilometers from Mosul, and falls under the authority of the Iraqi Government rather than the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The immediate response from the KRG was marked by a surge of aid and support. Emergency services, including firefighters and medical teams, rushed to the scene to contain the fire and provide medical assistance to the injured. The local community rallied together, offering shelter, food, and comfort to those affected by this devastating incident.
At the time of the incident, the region swiftly mobilized its resources, opening all hospitals and medical facilities to provide aid to the injured. Meanwhile, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani issued directives for all medical personnel and hospital doctors to offer their assistance to the victims.
KRG authorities also wasted no time in launching a comprehensive investigation into the incident. Preliminary reports suggest that there may have been lapses in safety protocols and oversight regarding the use of fireworks at the event. It is imperative to determine the exact causes and contributing factors to prevent such a tragedy from happening again in the future.
The KRG declared a three-day period of mourning in solidarity with the victims of the tragic incident, according to a statement by KRG spokesperson Peshmawa Hawramani. In a message posted on X (formerly Twitter), Hawramani mentioned that the government would extend additional medical assistance to the victims.
In response to the tragedy, the Kurdistan Region Security Council reported the arrest of Samir Sulaiman, the owner of the banquet hall in Hamdaniya, following an arrest warrant being issued by the federal government.
The fire was seemingly ignited by fireworks during a Christian wedding celebration. Authorities acknowledged that flammable building materials contributed to the disaster, adding that they had detained staff from the wedding hall as part of their ongoing investigation.
Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako described the devastating blaze that engulfed the wedding hall in Hamdaniya, a predominantly Christian area also known as Qaraqosh or Bakhdida, as a "complete and total catastrophe.” Speaking at the funeral proceedings for the victims at the Hamdaniya cemetery, Sako expressed the profound pain caused by the catastrophe, highlighting that it marked the first such tragedy in the past two decades.
PM Barzani (second from the right) offering his condolences to the victims of the Hamdaniyah fire incident at Erbil Emergency Hospital on September 30, 2023
KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani visited an emergency hospital in Erbil where victims of the fire were being treated. In addition to the urgent medical that the KRG provided, PM Barzani expressed condolences to the victims’ families and commended the efforts of the KRG’s Ministry of Health and the medical teams involved in the treatment of the victims. He also emphasized the importance of a thorough investigation into the incident and noted the gravity of the disaster.
Iraq Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani also ordered an official investigation into the fire and instructed the officials from Iraq’s Ministries of Interior and Health to provide relief and support through an online statement from his office.
The UN mission to Iraq also expressed its condolences over the tragic fire, conveying its deep shock and sorrow at the significant loss of life and injuries caused by the incident.