Fire breaks out at Beirut port a month after deadly blast killed 190; army helicopters to join fire-fighting ops

The 4 August blast caused widespread outrage after reports said that authorities had been aware of the huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate fertiliser at the port

Agence France-Presse September 10, 2020 18:11:18 IST
Fire breaks out at Beirut port a month after deadly blast killed 190; army helicopters to join fire-fighting ops

Beirut: A huge fire raged in Beirut port on Thursday, AFP correspondents said, sparking alarm among Lebanese still reeling from a devastating dockside explosion that disfigured the capital last month.

Thick black columns of smoke rose into the sky, as the army said the blaze had engulfed a warehouse storing oil and tyres.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze.

"Operations have begun to extinguish the fire and army helicopters will take part," the military said in a statement on Twitter.

Social media users posted videos of the fire, which sparked alarm among Beirut residents only just recovering from the country's deadliest peace-time disaster.

"Insane fire at the port, causing a panic all across Beirut. We just can't catch a break," Human Rights Watch researcher Aya Majzoub wrote on Twitter.

The 4 August explosion of hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser at the port killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands and ravaged large parts of the capital.

The blast sparked widespread outrage after it emerged authorities had been aware of the presence of the huge stockpile, and prompted the government to resign.

Human rights researcher Omar Nashabe tweeted: "Where are we living? This is the scene of the crime a month ago! Where is the judiciary? Where is the state? Where is responsibility?"

The port blast piled new misery on Lebanese already battling the coronavirus pandemic and the country's worst economic crisis in decades, which has seen poverty rates double to more than half the population.

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