A mortified Iraqi bride and groom vowed to leave the city after their wedding ended in tragedy when a fire ripped through the venue, killing 107 people.
Bride Haneen, 18, lost ten members of her family in the devastating fire, including her mother and brother, while her new husband Revan, 27, lost 15 family members.
Tragedy struck the northern city of Qaraqosh, a center of Iraq’s small Christian community, on Tuesday last week.
The newlyweds had been slow dancing when the roof above them caught fire, sending burning debris onto the hundreds of people sitting below.
Authorities revealed Sunday that the hall’s bumbling owner plunged the place into darkness by cutting off the electricity when flames erupted, thinking a short circuit started the fire, causing chaos among guests who ran for the exits.
While the couple managed to escape, more than 150 people were injured by the flames, the suffocating smoke or by the crowd that had to flee the reception hall.
‘Inside we are dead. We are numb. “We are dead inside,” Revan said.
A mortified Iraqi bride and groom have vowed to leave the city after their wedding ended in tragedy when a fire ripped through the venue, killing 107 people.
Newlyweds Haneen and Ravan had been slow dancing during their Christian wedding in the northern city of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, when their ceremony descended into chaos.
Revan added that his new girlfriend “can’t talk” following the disaster that also left his father in critical condition.
Authorities initially suggested that fireworks inside were the cause of the inferno, but a shocked Revan said News from heaven It could have started on the roof.
‘It could be a short circuit, I don’t know. But the fire started on the roof. We felt the heat… When I heard the crack I looked at the ceiling,” he told the media outlet.
Then the roof, which was all nylon, started to melt. It only took a few seconds.
He said the power went out before the dance and then came back on. It was at that moment that Revan said he saw the fire coming from the roof.
Haneen couldn’t flee because of her wedding dress, so Revan grabbed her and dragged her away from the fire, she said.
“I kept dragging her and trying to get her out of the kitchen entrance. As people fled, people trampled her. “She has injured legs,” she said. News from heaven.
“Our family, our friends, our loved ones are gone,” Revan said. The couple has already buried uncles, aunts and cousins while they are still waiting to learn about the condition of Haneen’s father.
The couple said they would no longer be able to live in their hometown and that their happiness had been “destroyed.”
The video shows a woman screaming as the large burning chandelier collapses onto a table, engulfing it in flames. The fire killed 107 people and left dozens more injured
Haneen (left) and Ravan (right), who were initially feared dead, managed to escape through the kitchen. But more than 100 wedding guests, including the bride’s three brothers, her uncles and young cousins, as well as the groom’s mother, died in the fire.
His comments came as it was revealed the venue’s bumbling owner caused chaos by mistakenly plunging the room into darkness when flames broke out.
Interior Minister Abdel Amir al-Shammari said in a news conference that the owner, thinking a short circuit had caused the fire, cut off the power, causing “chaos, panic and a stampede.”
Al-Shammari, who announced Sunday that a mayor and his fire chief were among five Iraqi officials fired for “gross negligence” over the fire, said the room should have had no more than 400 people inside.
That night, however, it housed more than 900 people, he said, confirming that the fire on the night of September 26 was an accident.
Public anger has erupted over the high death toll, which according to General Saad Faleh, head of the commission investigating the tragedy, currently stands at 107.
Shammari said those fired include: the mayor of Qaraqosh; the municipal director; the head of the tourism and recreation division; an electrical official; and the head of firefighting and security of the Civil Defense Corps of the province of Nineveh.
The head of Civil Defense will face a disciplinary committee, Shammari added.
In addition to negligence, the officials were fired for “failures to perform their duties,” he said.
“The mayor was negligent: the hall was built illegally on the land, but he authorized its entry into service, without the approval of other public bodies,” said the minister.
Civil Defense had carried out an inspection of the site earlier this year and the owner was ordered to remove the roof in October due to its highly flammable materials, he added.
The “main cause” of the fire was four fireworks that sent showers of sparks four meters high, Faleh said, adding that they ignited the prefabricated ceiling panels and also the decorations in the room.
The fire killed 107 people, and hundreds more gathered for their funerals in the days that followed.
Mourners carry a coffin during the funeral of victims of the fatal fire at a wedding celebration, in Hamdaniya, Iraq, on Thursday.
Volunteers search for the remains of bodies missing after a deadly fire at a wedding celebration in Iraq on Thursday.
Of the 14 people previously arrested by security forces, four, including the venue’s owner, were directly responsible for setting up the fireworks, Faleh said.
Both the bride and groom survived the fire.
Security standards are often poorly observed in Iraq, a country still recovering from decades of dictatorship, war and unrest and still plagued by corruption, mismanagement and often crumbling infrastructure.
Public discontent sparked a nationwide protest movement that began in October 2019. Nearly 500 protesters gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Sunday to mark the anniversary, which police, pelted with stones by protesters, dispersed with sound grenades, said an AFP photographer.