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“Some investors do not care about applying safety standards in their projects to keep the costs low and even store owners do not consider buying fire extinguishers.”He said the two malls, the Hadi and Laith centers, lacked emergency exits and stairs, sprinklers and fire hoses and had “unprofessional wiring.” He said authorities had previously issued a warning to the owners of the two malls and, after getting no response, had filed a court case against them.It took 30 minutes for the first two fire engines to reach the blaze, and they soon ran out of water, according to accounts by several witnesses, including AP photographer Hadi Mizban.
“I could even hear the angel of death reaping lives,” he said.
Public grief has been stoked by anger over deeply rooted corruption and inefficiency that may have cost lives.
State Civil Defense Forces, under heavy criticism, blamed the absence of safety standards.“The culture of safety measures is almost zero in Iraq,” Brig. Kadhim Bashir Saleh of the Civil Defense force told The Associated Press.
In this Monday, July 4, 2016 photo, people gather to pray at the scene of a massive truck bomb attack during a funeral in Baghdad, Iraq.
The July 3 suicide attack at Baghdad's Karradah district is the city's deadliest bombing since the Iraq war began 13 years ago, a grim distinction made all the more tragic by details of the immediate aftermath of the bombing given to the Associated Press by a half dozen survivors and witnesses.
(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) BAGHDAD (AP) — Dozens of men were watching a soccer match at the “Smile” cafe when the blast hit in the street below. One of those watching the match, Majid Toamah, kicked a hole in an aluminum wall in the cafe and leaped 20 meters (yards) to the alley below. As he lay in agony, he looked up to see terrified faces staring out of the hole.“They were too scared to jump.
Within minutes, a fire ripped through the Baghdad shopping mall where they were gathered, trapping them in a crowd on the second floor. The face of one of them caught fire,” Toamah remembered.
“In the end, they all died.”At least 292 people died from the July 3 car bombing in Baghdad’s central Karradah district.
Most of the deaths resulted not from the blast itself, but from the ensuing inferno, fed by a tinderbox of shops in two malls filled with clothing and oil-based perfumes for sale and lined with flammable panels.