Fire kills at least 25 at a wedding with at least 30 others hurt

Fire at wedding celebration 
By: David Ross 

A large fire broke at during a wedding, killing and injuring dozens, according to fire officials.

At least 25 people have died and 30 others were injured in a fire at a wedding in eastern Saudi Arabia, officials said.

Hundreds were inside the courtyard of a house in the village of Ain Badr, in the region of Abqaiq, when the fire began.

A high voltage power line reportedly fell and sent sparks flying after it was hit by celebratory gunfire. The power line is also believed to have touched a metal door on the way out from the courtyard, electrocuting several victims.

Most of the dead and injured were reported to have been women. The local newspaper quoted Civil Defense chief Gen Khsheiman Abdullah as saying that the women only section caught fire.

Women are separated from men at weddings in Saudi Arabia, in line with the kingdom's strict rules on gender segregation. A photograph of the aftermath that was posted online showed a large patio covered with thrown around chairs and a turned over electric pole carrying electric wires.

The survivors have been taken to hospitals where they are recovering. Civil Defense spokesman Colonel Mohammed al-Ajami, said that the Governor of the Eastern Province, Prince Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, had ordered the authorities to investigate the incident.

Saudi authorities last month banned the shooting of firearms at weddings, a popular tradition in the tribal areas of the kingdom, according to the news media.

In July 1999, 76 people died in a similar incident in the Eastern Province.



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