Beirut fire: Large blaze erupts in port area, month after explosion

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  • Beirut port explosion

media captionSmoke from the fire could be seen billowing over the city’s skyline

A huge fire has erupted in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut, one month after a massive explosion there killed at least 190 people.

The blaze broke out in an oil and tyre warehouse in the port’s duty-free zone. Officials told local media it appeared to be contained to one place.

Smoke could be seen billowing out over the city’s skyline.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. No casualties have been reported so far.

Firefighters are at the scene, and the military said its helicopters were being used in efforts to extinguish the blaze.

The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettaneh, said some people were suffering from shortness of breath as a result of the fire, but there were no reports of injuries, according to Reuters news agency.

Mr Kettaneh also said there was no fear of an explosion as a result of the fire.

Lebanese firefighters try to extinguish a fire at Port of Beirut, Lebanon, on 10 September 2020

image copyrightEPA

image captionFirefighters were at the port to try to extinguish the fire

However some residents, still traumatised by last month’s explosion, drove out of the city.

“I am forced to get them out of Beirut from the smoke and the fire that is happening at the port again,” Majed Hassanein, who was leaving with his wife and children, told Reuters.

The blast last month happened when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonated. There has been outrage that so much hazardous material was stored unsafely in a warehouse in the city’s port, close to many residential areas.

In addition to the fatalities, thousands were injured and as many as 300,000 left homeless by the explosion.

media captionStarting with the epicentre, we follow how the 4 August blast ripped through the city, bringing life to a halt

The Lebanese government’s resignation shortly afterwards failed to pacify protesters, who clashed with police in the city for several nights.

Rescuers last week searched through the rubble of a destroyed building after a sensor machine detected a pulsing signal in the area, but

the search found “no sign of life”.

More on the explosion in Beirut

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