Disasters & Accidents

Beirut port silos, symbol of 2020 blast, partly collapse

Beirut, Jul 31 (EFE).- Some of Beirut’s remaining port grain silos, which survived a devastating explosion two years ago, collapsed on Sunday as a result of an ongoing fire, just a few days before the anniversary of the blast.

Some of the northern silos crumbled, creating a thick cloud of dust, amid the fire that has been raging for days, Lebanese army and Beirut Fire Department sources told EFE.

The collapse of the structures had been expected for days after fires broke out inside them and fire crews were unable to get near enough to put them out due to fears that they would implode.

The fermentation process for the wheat and corn that was left inside the silos after the blast two years ago first resulted in a fire that was extinguished on July 8, but a second blaze has been active since it broke out less than a week ago.

“The grain located on the eastern side of the barns (…) is estimated at 300 tons, of which 800 tons (stored in silos) have recently started spontaneous combustion as a result of climatic factors,” the office of Prime Minister Najib Mikati said in a statement.

The rest of the remaining silos are likely to collapse also, a military source told EFE.

The recent developments came a few days before the second anniversary of the Beirut port explosion on Aug. 4, 2019, that killed more than 200 people, injuring 6,500 and making thousands of families homeless.

The explosion was apparently due to improperly stored chemicals rather than terrorism.

EFE amo-ppa/ta-bp

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