Civil defense authorities pointed out that the event hall contained prefabricated panels that were “highly flammable and contravened safety standards.”
The situation was exacerbated by the release of toxic gases from the burning panels. Preliminary information suggests that fireworks used during the celebration were the likely cause of the fire.
A history of safety concerns
This tragedy highlights the often-overlooked safety standards in Iraq’s construction sector. The country has a history of fatal fires and accidents, exacerbated by years of conflict and disrepair in its infrastructure. Just last year, fires in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients resulted in significant loss of life.