Monday, February 14, 2005

Woman's Veil May Have Started Deadly Mosque Fire

The Associated Press:
Iran's official news agency says a woman's veil caught fire in a crowded mosque, starting a blaze that killed dozens of worshipers. At least 250 others were injured.

The fire apparently began when the veil of a female worshiper caught the flames of a kerosene heater on the mosque's top floor. The flames spread to a cloth that covered the ceiling and walls to mark the holy month. Panicked people raced for the doors and smashed windows to escape the fire.

Women, who pray on the second floor of the mosque away from the men, had to race down stairs and through a narrow doorway to exit. Many fell and were trampled in the chaos. Hospital records checked by The Associated Press show that 40 of those killed and the majority of the injured were women. ...