The gas cylinder explosion caused a fire in a residential area, injuring dozens and destroying several houses and vehicles.
The death toll from a gas cylinder explosion in a residential area of the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah has risen to 15.
Thursday’s explosion, which caused a house to collapse, also left 16 people injured.
Sulaimaniyah’s civil defence said on Friday that the rescue operation to find the victims lasted 17 hours.
Firefighters managed to contain the fire that broke out after the gas cylinder exploded in the second-largest city in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
“A total of 15 bodies have been pulled out from under the rubble,” said the head of civil defence in the city, Diyar Ibrahim, according to the official Iraqi News Agency.
Ibrahim said search operations continued into the early hours of Friday, adding that there were no more bodies under the rubble.
The city’s emergency response chief, Saman Nader, blamed the blast on “a gas leak from a tank”.
The search for victims trapped under the rubble lasted 17 hours, Sulaimaniyah’s civil defence said [Shwan Mohammed/AFP]
Police said the fire damaged several houses and destroyed at least five vehicles. It also said at least three houses were destroyed by the explosion.
A cooking gas cylinder was installed on the rooftop of one of the homes in the residential area.
The governor of Sulaimaniyah province, Haval Abubaker, announced three days of mourning earlier on Friday. He added that at least one child was among the victims.
Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, has ordered an investigation.
Infrastructure tragedies are common in Iraq, which suffers from poorly enforced safety standards.
At the end of October, a gas tanker exploded in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least nine people and injuring several others, security forces said.
In April 2021, at least 82 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire that broke out in the coronavirus intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital, when improperly stored oxygen cylinders exploded. (Al Jazeera)
•Firefighters searching for victims and survivors under the rubble of a building which collapsed after gas tank exploded, in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah, on November 18, 2022.