A towering inferno at Beirut’s port has caused widespread panic in the Lebanese capital, just two days after another fire was put out at the site of a massive explosion that killed nearly 200 people last month, reports Al-Jazeera.
The Lebanese army said on Thursday the blaze erupted at a warehouse storing oils and tyres in the port’s Duty Free area.
A witness reported seeing people running in the opposite direction of the fire, which sent a large plume of smoke into the sky.
She also saw cars reversing in the Mar Mikhail neighbourhood, which was devastated by the August 4 explosion that wounded more than 6,500 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
Several workers told local media that there had been clearance efforts under way inside the warehouse to remove debris from last month’s explosion, at which point the fire caught.
‘Signs of life’ under Beirut rubble one month after explosion
As was the case with the August disaster, firefighters arrived on the scene without being informed of exactly what was on fire -though “we didn’t go in blind,” Lieutenant Michel Murr, who oversees firefighting efforts in Beirut, told Al Jazeera.
Ten firefighters were killed on August 4 after being sent to extinguish the fire caused by the explosion of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the port.
Murr said he could not entirely rule out the presence of explosive material in the area, but said it was unlikely.
“We’re being as careful as we can be given the situation,” Murr added, noting that there were no injuries resulting from the fire.