Filipino victims in Iraq hotel fire being identified

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine embassy in Baghdad clarified on Sunday, February 7, that there are 13 Filipino fatalities in last Friday's hotel fire, not 14 as earlier reported.

The fire, which struck the basement of the Capitol Hotel in Erbil – capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region, also left 6 others dead.

A team from the Philippine embassy, led by chargé d'affaires Elmer Cato, is in Erbil to identify the Filipino victims and bring their remains home.

"The victims, all females, were suffocated by the smoke while trying to find their way out in the darkness," Cato said in a Facebook post, early Sunday morning in Manila.

"We are trying our best to identify the victims and we are hoping that we could finish the difficult process by tomorrow [Sunday] so that we could immediately reunite them with their loved ones in the Philippines."

Cato also said that the Kurdistan regional government has ruled out terrorism in the incident.

Initial investigation showed that faulty wiring triggered the deadly blaze. – Rappler.com