Concerns raised over frequent blazes

KRG prime minister calls for investigation after Erbil’s Qaysari Bazaar fire

ERBIL — Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani visited the fire-ravaged Qaysari Bazaar in Erbil on Monday, pledging support for recovery efforts and vowing to investigate the cause of the blaze.

The fire, which erupted Sunday night, took four hours to extinguish and destroyed 227 shops and seven stalls, according to initial reports. Over 130 people sustained injuries, most considered minor.

Press cameras accompanied Barzani on his visit through torched sections of the bazaar, one shopkeeper imploring the prime minister to renovate the historic bazaar. Barzani assured him, “Stay safe, everything will be compensated. We will do everything we can to help you.”

“This place has cultural and historical significance for us, and we will do everything within our power to restore it,” he added.

The prime minister’s remarks emphasized the unusual frequency of fires in Erbil, particularly in recent months. A number of high profile market fires have erupted across the city since the beginning of 2024, affecting the Langa second-hand market and Nishtiman market opposite the Qaysari Bazaar.

“It has happened far too often,” Barzani said in a post to X (formerly Twitter).We will determine the root cause and strengthen regulation.” 

During his visit, the prime minister said his government was urging an investigation into the fires to determine root causes. “We need to understand whether they are intentional or there’s negligence or non-compliance with regulations,” Barzani stated during his visit.

Reiterating the need for swift investigations, he directed his comments to Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw who stood beside him. “This investigation needs to be conducted as quickly as possible,” Barzani said.

Initial reports attributed the fire to an electrical malfunction, a cause cited in previous Erbil market fires this year. However, the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Electricity formed an investigative committee for the Qaysari Bazaar fire and stated it found no evidence to support the electrical cause.

Reports also suggested the fire originated in a children’s clothing store and a wholesale center before spreading to the nearby gold market, posing a significant challenge for firefighters.

Erbil's Qaysari bazaar fire destroys 227 shops and 7 warehouses

Erbil's Qaysari bazaar fire destroys 227 shops and 7 warehouses

Massive fire engulfs historic Qaysari bazaar in Erbil

Massive fire engulfs historic Qaysari bazaar in Erbil