Shafaq News / The investigative committee for the tragedy in the Hamdaniya district announced on Sunday the results of the investigation into the wedding hall fire incident, which claimed the lives of more than 100 people, confirming that fireworks were the primary cause of the fire.
This announcement came during a joint press conference held by the Minister of Interior, Abdul Amir Al-Shammari, along with the head of the investigative committee for the Hamdaniya fire incident, Maj. Gen. Saad Falah Kassar Al-Dulaimi, and the minister's technical affairs advisor responsible for overseeing the committee's work, Brigadier Kadhim Bohan Al-Aqeeli.
Maj. Gen. Al-Dulaimi stated that the wedding hall under investigation had a capacity of only 500 people, was constructed with a steel structure, and its walls were made of cement blocks. It was covered with "sandwich panel" material that was flammable, decorated with synthetic plastic straw, which is also highly flammable. Additionally, the hall's facade was covered with a highly flammable material.
He further pointed out that the committee observed a room containing large quantities of flammable fabric used for decorating the hall, as well as substantial amounts of alcoholic beverages on the tables. There were no emergency exits; instead, there were small service doors.
The general went on to say that the committee identified the presence of four fire ignition devices, which, according to their findings and eyewitness accounts, were the main cause of the incident. The flames from these devices reached up to four meters, causing the fire to spread to the hall's ceiling.
He mentioned that the fire started when a source of fire came into contact with highly flammable materials, emphasizing that the hall's owner bears full responsibility for this tragedy.
The head of the investigative committee confirmed that 107 people lost their lives, and 82 others were injured as a result of the fire. The focus of the investigation is on the negligence of the hall's owner, the district mayor of Hamdaniya, the municipality director, the tourism director, the electricity director, and the proven negligence of the civil defense in enforcing safety procedures to close the hall due to non-compliance with safety regulations.
In his turn, Brigadier Al-Aqeeli stated during the conference that the investigative committee reached several conclusions that unequivocally prove that the incident was accidental, not intentional, and resulted from severe negligence. It was caused by the "sandwich panel" material and synthetic straw decor, as well as the use of four devices for fireworks, which were the main cause of the fire. Additionally, there was a storage area with large quantities of alcoholic beverages.
He emphasized that the floor of the hall was covered with "carpet" material, which contributed significantly to the rapid spread of the fire. The electricity was cut off during the incident by the hall's owner due to his belief that an electrical fault occurred, causing panic and chaos among the people.
Brigadier Bohan noted the rapid collapse of the wedding hall due to the "sandwich panel," which significantly hindered the rescue efforts.
Minister of Interior, Abdul Amir Al-Shammari, added during the conference that the presence of air conditioner devices and flammable materials, coupled with the absence of emergency exits, accelerated the spread of the fire. He also mentioned that the hall's capacity was initially designed for about 400 people, but the owner increased it by adding more tables and chairs covered with highly flammable material. On the night of the incident, the owner had prepared 900 dinner meals, all of which contributed to the rapid ignition of the fire.
The minister revealed the committee's recommendations, which included granting martyr status to the victims, as they belonged to a religious minority, and providing support to their families. The injured would receive medical treatment at the state's expense, both within and outside the country.
Additionally, the recommendations included forming specialized committees to monitor the arrest of the suspects in the case, the investigation results, and the referral of the suspects to the judiciary.
The committee also recommended exempting the Hamdaniya district administrator, the municipality director, the tourism director in Nineveh governorate, the electricity director of Hamdaniya, and the director of the firefighting and safety department in the Nineveh Civil Defense from their positions and establishing an investigative council against them.