Top officials fired after two fires in three days at Baghdad airport

No casualties were reported in latest blaze

Baghdad International Airport. The latest fire started in a refreshments area in a departure lounge. Reuters
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Airport officials have been sacked after a second fire in three days broke out in one of the terminals at Baghdad International Airport on Thursday.

The Director General of Iraq's Civil Aviation Authority, the director of Baghdad International Airport and the director of airport security have all been relieved of their duties, the Prime Minister's office said.

Mohammed Shia Al Sudani called a meeting on the accidents after visiting the airport and directed the National Security Agency and Civil Defence Directorate in the Ministry of Interior to conduct an “immediate and comprehensive examination of the safety system and emergency precautions at the airport.”

He also ordered an investigation into why a 2013 contract to install a fire-extinguishing sprinkler system had not yet been carried out.

There were no casualties in the latest blaze, which damaged several airline offices in the two-storey Nineveh Terminal.

“Civil defence teams were able to put out the fire,” it said.

The first fire inside the departure hall of Baghdad's international airport on Tuesday

It came after three people were injured on Tuesday when a fire broke out in a refreshments area in the departures lounge of one of the terminals.

Videos on social media showed flames reaching the ceiling near check-in counters at one of the terminals, with the hall engulfed in smoke.

“The fire lasted several minutes and three people were treated for light respiratory difficulty,” a civil defence official told AFP.

Conflict, neglect and endemic corruption have left Iraq's infrastructure in disrepair.

Safety standards in the transport and construction sectors are frequently flouted, and accidents are common.

Baghdad's airport has undergone no major renovations since it opened in the 1980s under the rule of Saddam Hussein.

Late last month, a gas tanker exploded in Baghdad, killing at least nine people and injuring 13 others, in what security forces said was an accident.

Updated: November 17, 2022, 2:48 PM
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