Latest in long list of incidents this year

Yet more fires throughout Kurdistan Region, northern Iraq

NEWSROOM — A fire broke out today at Kirkuk’s Plaza Hotel, today as multiple fires break throughout towns in Northern Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

Sinan Ahmed, spokesperson for Kirkuk Civil Defense, informed 964media that the fire started on the hotel’s fourth floor. “The fire originated in the restaurant area and is believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit,” he said.

The fire has been controlled, with damage confined to the restaurant area. Civil defense officials reported that two staff members were injured.

Luqman Shukur, director of civil defense for Kirkuk’s first sector, told 964media, “The fire has been controlled, and we are still investigating the cause.” He added, “Two of our staff were injured by burns and have been taken to the hospital.”

Haji Jalil, the hotel owner, confirmed that only the restaurant was affected and the rest of the hotel is safe. He reiterated that the fire was likely due to an electrical short circuit and that there was no foul play involved.

Meanwhile, in Erbil early this morning, a fire broke out at a storage facility near Qalat Nwe.

The fire started behind Qalat Nwe Street at a storage facility used for packaging materials. Erbil’s civil defense teams are working to extinguish the fire, which is not yet under control.

Abdulrahim Baradosti, the facility owner, told 964media, “I was at home when I received the news. Cardboard boxes inside the facility were burned.” He added, “An insulation worker was working at the facility, and the fire started from the blowtorch.”

He also stated, “Five civil defense teams are working to control the fire.”

Baradosti mentioned that so far, the damages are primarily material, affecting the packaging materials and other items stored in the facility. “Two civil defense workers were also injured while fighting the fire,” he added.

They are the latest in a litany of fire related incidents since the turn of the year, with Erbil being hit especially hard with multiple fires at markets throughout the city.

Last night in Erbil, a fire broke out at the Nawroz gas plant on the Erbil-Kirkuk road near the village of Murtaqah.

Shakhawan Mustafa, the civil defense spokesperson in Erbil, told 964media, “We were alerted at 7:30 PM that the plant was on fire. We controlled it with 15 teams in one hour.”

The fire resulted in three injuries due to burns. One of the injured is a plant guard, along with his brother and a tanker driver.

100 tons of liquefied petroleum gas were reportedly burned in the incident.

The road between Erbil and Kirkuk was closed for a while due to the fire but has since reopened.

In Koya last night, a fire broke out on Mount Haibat Sultan. No casualties were reported, and only the vegetation on the mountain was burned. Authorities initially stated a suspect had been arrested for starting the fire.

Amid Goran Ahmed, director of civil defense in Koya, told 964media, “The fire was quickly controlled by our teams, and there were no casualties. About half a donum of land with vegetation was burned.”

When asked about the reported arrest, Ahmed responded, “We have not heard anything about anyone being arrested for starting tonight’s fire on Mount Haibat Sultan.”

Since the beginning of 2024, Koya’s civil defense department has recorded 75 incidents of fires and other emergencies.