More than 100 dead in Iraq wedding inferno
STORY: "Where is mom!"
That was the cry heard from an Iraqi man after he found his mother's clothes on Wednesday (September 27), in the aftermath of a fire that ripped through a packed wedding hall in northern Iraq.
His wife said they escaped through the kitchen door when the venue went up in flames.
It was after they got out that she realized her mother-in-law was missing.
“We don’t know where she is. We just saw her clothes, we looked for her all over, in Mosul, we didn’t find anything. We even looked for her among those burned and found nothing, we only just found her clothes.”
More than 100 people were killed and at least 150 others were injured in the fire.
Firefighters searched the charred skeleton of the building in Qaraqoush into Wednesday morning and bereaved relatives gathered outside a morgue in the nearby city of Mosul.
Survivors said hundreds of people were at the wedding celebration after an earlier church service.
The fire began about an hour into the event when flares ignited a ceiling decoration as the bride and groom danced.
The Interior Ministry said it had issued four arrest warrants for the owners of the wedding hall, state media reported.
And President Abdul Latif Rashid has called for an investigation.
State media added that preliminary information indicated that the building was made of highly flammable construction materials, which contributed to its rapid collapse.
The city of Qaraqoush is mostly Christian but also home to some members of Iraq's Yazidi minority.
Most of the residents fled the town when Islamic State seized it in 2014.
But they returned after the group was ousted in 2017.
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