Investigation underway

Fire engulfs Erbil’s Langa Market for second time in two months

ERBIL — A large fire tore through Erbil’s historic Langa Market early Monday morning, marking the second major blaze at the market in less than two months.

Video recorded at the scene showed thick smoke billowing into the sky and according to shopkeepers, the fire quickly engulfed over 80 shops, spanning three sections of the market.

Civil defense teams eventually brought the blaze under control with the help of local residents and shopkeepers who joined the effort using fire extinguishers and helping fire fighters carry water hoses into the market.

Karwan Mirawdali, a spokesperson for Erbil’s civil defense, confirmed the fire had been contained, but the extent of the damage and the number of shops destroyed remained unclear.

He added that investigators were looking into the possibility that two separate fires had occured, with the initial blaze reported at 6:43 a.m. and brought under control by local residents and shopkeepers, while a subsequent blaze required further intervention by civil defense teams.

Video footage captured at the scene also showed initial tensions between firefighters and onlookers, as civil defense personnel attempted to establish a perimeter to contain the flames.

One shopkeeper told 964media the fire quickly escalated, taking over a clothing section of the market and that a tractor with a water tank arrived before civil defense firetrucks.

This incident is the second major fire at Langa Market this year. On Feb. 27, a fire ripped through the market, destroying 185 shops out of 2,400 and causing damages exceeding 6 billion Iraqi dinars ($4.6 million).

Earlier this month, Mirawdali revealed a concerning rise in fire incidents across the city during the first quarter of 2024 with officials reporting 208 fires, resulting in three deaths and billions of dinars in property damage.