Shocking video shows start of Iraq wedding disaster as fireworks ignite decorations before blaze breaks out, killing 114

27 September 2023, 09:23 | Updated: 27 September 2023, 10:12

Fireworks set decorations on the ceiling alight, sparking the blaze that killed 100 people, including the bride and groom
Fireworks set decorations on the ceiling alight, sparking the blaze that killed 100 people, including the bride and groom. Picture: Social Media

By Kit Heren

Chilling footage shows the moment fireworks set fire to decorations at a wedding in Iraq that killed at least 114 people, including the bride and groom.

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The blaze took place in the region of Nineveh on Tuesday evening and has left 150 more people hurt, including children.

A guest said that the bride and groom "were about to do a slow dance and then they lit up this thing for the dance which caught fire."

Phone footage shows the guests sitting calmly at dinner tables as music plays, while the flames lap up at a large chandelier behind them.

Suddenly the chandelier catches fire, and the blaze is thought to have spread quickly after that.

TV footage also shows the wedding hall, which is in the predominantly Christian area of Hamdaniya, close to the city of Mosul, engulfed in flames.

The bride and groom can be seen on the dance floor at the outbreak of the fire in separate footage. They appear stunned by the sight of the burning debris. A local journalist said they were among the dead, although this has not been confirmed.

Read more: Huge fire tears through east London high-rise flat as 80 firefighters rush to the scene

Read more: Two children dead and four more fighting for life after huge house blaze

The fire took place at a wedding
The fire took place at a wedding. Picture: Rudaw

No official cause of the fire has been given yet, despite the firework footage.

Prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani ordered an investigation and asked the country's interior and health officials to provide relief, his office said in a statement online.

He said he had phoned the governor and "the Ministers of Interior and Health are directed to mobilize all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident.

An Iraqi girl with burns in her hand after the fire
An Iraqi girl with burns in her hand after the fire. Picture: Alamy

Health Ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said: "All efforts are being made to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate accident."

The wedding hall was decorated with illegal, highly flammable cladding.

People look at the aftermath of the fire
People look at the aftermath of the fire. Picture: Getty

Officials said: "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 the fire breaks out."

Authorities warned the death toll from the fire could yet rise.

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