Baghdad building collapse injures at least 32 people

Civil Defence Directorate says search and rescue operation is under way

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A multi-storey commercial building in Baghdad collapsed on Sunday after catching fire, injuring at least 32 people, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

Among those injured was the head of the Civil Defence Directorate, Maj Gen Kadhim Bohan, along with firefighters who were battling the blaze, the ministry said.

Late on Sunday, the directorate announced that the fire had been fully extinguished and first responders were searching for missing people at the scene.

No deaths were reported and no information was immediately available on the cause of the blaze.

The building in Baghdad’s northern neighbourhood of Waziriyah was used as a warehouse for oil-based perfumes, which caused the blaze to burn for hours.

Safety standards in building and other sectors are frequently flouted in Iraq, and accidents are common.

Widespread corruption and weak government monitoring are blamed for the lack of proper safety standards in many of Baghdad's neighbourhoods.

High-profile disasters in recent years included two hospital fires, in Baghdad and the southern city of Nasiriyah, leading to hundreds of deaths.

Both blazes were blamed on faulty electrical wiring and poor storage of highly flammable oxygen.

Late last month, a gas tanker exploded in a residential area of Baghdad, killing nine people. Thirteen were wounded in the explosion in the capital’s eastern Binok neighbourhood.

The government investigation blamed a “technical failure”.

Also in Baghdad, a multi-storey building collapsed early last month, killing a woman, her daughter, 2, and two men. Thirteen were wounded.

Officials blamed the owner for not obeying construction codes.

In August, seven people were killed after a landslide caused the partial collapse of a Shiite shrine outside the city of Karbala, south of Baghdad.

Updated: November 07, 2022, 5:30 AM