In a heart-wrenching turn of events, a newlywed couple, Haneen and Ravan, have been left grappling with an overwhelming sense of grief and emptiness after a catastrophic fire engulfed their wedding ceremony in Qaracosh, near Mosul, Iraq, claiming the lives of over 100 people. The couple’s joyous celebration quickly descended into unimaginable tragedy, leaving them with profound loss and trauma.
The wedding, meant to be a day of jubilation and unity, took a nightmarish turn as Haneen and Ravan were slow-dancing at the wedding venue.
Witnesses recounted the horrific scene, with 17-year-old survivor Raniaa Waad recalling, “fireworks starting to climb to the ceiling and the whole hall went up in flames.” The intense inferno left attendees disoriented and suffocating, struggling to find a way to safety.
Tragically, a significant number of the bride and groom’s closest friends and family members perished as the fire ravaged the venue in Iraq’s Nineveh province. For Haneen, aged 18, the devastating toll included the loss of her mother and brother, among the ten victims from her family. Meanwhile, Ravan, aged 27, mourned the loss of 15 relatives in total.
The precise cause of the fire remains under investigation, although there are speculations that it may have originated from indoor fireworks. Ravan, while speaking to Sky News, suggested an alternative possibility, stating, “It could be a short-circuit, I don’t know. But the fire started in the ceiling. We felt the heat… When I heard the crackling I looked at the ceiling. Then the ceiling, which was all nylon, started to melt. It only took seconds.”
The couple’s wedding day, which was meant to be the happiest of their lives, has turned into a nightmarish ordeal, leaving them emotionally scarred. Ravan painfully expressed, “Inside we are dead. We are numb. We are dead inside.” The traumatic incident has left Haneen unable to speak, further deepening their anguish. To make matters worse, her father remains in intensive care in the hospital following the tragedy.
Ravan recounted the ominous moment when a power outage occurred just before their first dance, only for the lights to return, revealing flames in the ceiling. In a desperate bid to save his new bride, he had to pull her to safety, as her long wedding dress impeded her escape. “I kept dragging her and trying to get her out of the kitchen entrance. As people were fleeing, people were trampling on her. Her legs are injured. Our relatives, our friends, our loved ones are all gone,” he shared, his voice laden with grief.
Authorities have since revealed that flammable building materials played a significant role in the tragedy, exacerbating the severity of the fire. Jamil al-Jamil, a friend of the couple, emphasized that the immense loss of family members far outweighed the physical injuries they sustained in the fire. Haneen lost her entire family, including three brothers, uncles, and young cousins, while Ravan lost his mother.
The devastating wedding fire has left a community in mourning and the newlyweds struggling to cope with the profound loss that will forever shape their lives. It serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the enduring resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable tragedy.