Four Killed, 58 in­jured as dor­mi­tory is set on fire in Su­laimaniyah

Kur­dis­tan’s Coun­cil of Min­is­ters has formed two com­mit­tees to in­ves­ti­gate the Su­laimaniyah Fir­dos dor­mi­tory fire ‘ac­ci­dent’

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

Three tech­ni­cal in­sti­tu­tion stu­dents, and a tech­ni­cian were killed due to a fire in Fir­dos dor­mi­tory last week. At least 58 peo­ple were re­ported to be in­jured, out of which eight stu­dents sus­tained sub­stan­tial burns, and one is crit­i­cally un­sta­ble. Many were in­jured due to in­hal­ing smoke, and were trans­ported to hospi­tal later. The Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tu­tion has 1,300 stu­dents ac­com­mo­dated in sev­eral dor­mi­to­ries within the province, and only 144 stu­dents were ac­com­mo­dated at the Fir­dos build­ing, where the fire-ac­ci­dent took place.

Fol­low­ing the ac­ci­dent, Bihroz Mo­hammed Salih, Su­laimaniyah’s gov­er­nor, with sev­eral high-rank­ing of­fi­cials held a press con­fer­ence. He said, Kur­dis­tan’s Coun­cil of Min­is­ters have formed two in­ves­tiga­tive com­mit­tees to look into the causes of the fire, and as­sess the emer­gency aid re­sponse per­for­mance. “In­ves­ti­ga­tion has be­gun im­me­di­ately af­ter the ac­ci­dent, and the cause of the fire re­mains un­known”, Salih ex­plained.

Dr Mi­ran Mo­hamed, Di­rec­tor of the Di­rec­torate Gen­eral of Health con­firmed the ca­su­alty num­bers, adding that the tech­ni­cian tried to es­cape the fire by div­ing into a pri­vate swim­ming pool un­der the dor­mi­tory but died of the wounds he sus­tained. He was orig­i­nally from a small town called Pira-Ma­groon, and had come to Su­laimaniyah to work.

Many com­men­ta­tors have raised con­cern over the safety stan­dards within the dor­mi­tory, adding that the dorm was pre­vi­ously a pri­vate ho­tel. Many stu­dents have claimed that the dor­mi­tory exit doors were locked at the time the fire started, and they were un­able to open exit doors. How­ever, Dr Alan Faray­dun, head of Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tu­tion, ex­plained that the in­sti­tu­tion’s ad­min­is­tra­tion had en­sured the dorm was safe for stu­dents in case of ac­ci­dents, and emer­gen­cies.

Fol­low­ing the Soma Ho­tel fire in 2010, a com­mit­tee was formed to im­pose safety mea­sures on busi­ness and pub­lic cen­ters in Su­laimaniyah where 27 were killed, and 22 oth­ers in­jured.

Nawzad Ali, Su­laimaniyah’s Di­rec­tor of the Di­rec­torate of Po­lice re­vealed that the owner of the build­ing and his son have been de­tained ac­cord­ing to Ar­ti­cle 343. Some of the sur­viv­ing stu­dents crit­i­cized fire­fight­ers for ar­riv­ing late, while the Civil De­fense Sta­tion was only sev­eral hun­dred me­ters away from the dor­mi­tory. Berg Diar, Di­rec­tor of civil De­fense Di­rec­torate re­jected the claim that fire­fight­ers ar­rived late, and said fire­fight­ers were present at the scene within three min­utes.

“Our hearts go out to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims of this tragic ac­ci­dent, and we wish those in­jured a speedy re­cov­ery”, head of Su­laimaniyah Univer­sity de­liv­ered a heart­warm­ing speech. He ex­plained that for the past two years they have tried to en­force safety reg­u­la­tions through­out their dorms by cre­at­ing a Safety and Health of­fice. The main mis­sion of this di­rec­torate is to look into any kind of safety and other short­ages within the dor­mi­to­ries. “We have been try­ing hard to re­solve all the short­ages through the rel­e­vant di­rec­torates. All col­lege and in­sti­tu­tion deans should visit the dorms per­son­ally to learn about the short­ages, and pre­vent tragic ac­ci­dents as the one we have seen”.

A stu­dent walks in Fir­dos Dor­mi­tory which burned sev­eral days ago in the city of Su­laimaniyah.

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