A month after the explosion that killed nearly 200 people, a fire broke out in a tank of motor oil and tires, sending a huge column of smoke over the city and triggering panic.
BEIRUT Lebanon (Al Jadeed) – A motor oil and tire deposit in Beirut port caught fire, the Lebanese Army said, just over a month after a massive explosion devastated the port and a residential area the Lebanese capital.
The fire broke out in the port’s free zone, sending a huge column of smoke over the city. A military source said the fire’s cause was not immediately clear, although authorities ruled out that it could cause a new explosion.
The secretary-general of the Lebanese Red Cross, George Kettaneh, assured the Lebanese chain Al Jadeed that no one was injured. So far, the Lebanese authorities have not made any statement.
Television images and videos posted on social networks showed firefighters trying to put out the fire in the port, where the August 4th explosion destroyed concrete grain warehouses and silos. The images also showed helicopters carrying water flying through the city.
The thick columns of black smoke were visible from several neighborhoods in the city, sowing panic among the Lebanese capital inhabitants, still traumatized after the devastating explosion that shook the city five weeks ago.
Port workers could be seen running in panic, with people shouting “run, run, everyone! A military source, who asked not to be identified, said that these are “two fires, separated from each other” and, according to the first indications, “they are not due to natural causes,” he said without giving further details.
He also added that the Interior forces had closed several streets around the port, which was largely destroyed a little over a month ago.
The local media reported that the Army was beginning to evacuate the people around. Panicked citizens in the surrounding areas began getting into their cars, saying they would leave Beirut.
About 190 people were killed, more than 6,500 were injured, and more than 300,000 were left homeless in last month’s explosion, and a part of Beirut near the port was ruined. The explosion was caused by a large ammonium nitrate deposit kept in the port in poor condition for years.
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