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’
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.