Huge Fire Breaks Out at Beirut Port After Last Month's Massive Explosion
They say that lighting doesn't strike in the same place twice but sometimes it does just that. A huge fire erupted in Beirut's port on Thursday, just a few weeks after an explosion at the same site caused the death of nearly 200 people.
According to CNN, locals were told by Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud to stay clear of the port area "for their safety" and to let the firefighters handle the situation, state news agency NNA reported.
For now, the cause of the fire remains unknown but the Lebanese army released a statement claiming that the flames began at a warehouse in the port's duty-free market where oil and tires are kept.
In the meantime, a witness revealed to Al Jazeera that she saw people running from the fire which sent large amounts of smoke into the sky, and also spotted cars reversing in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood. This is the same area that was targeted by the August 4 explosion that injured more than 6,500 people and left hundreds of thousands without a residence.
Videos began to appear online of a warehouse overtaken by flames that reach the sky. Local residents took to social media to express their sadness and disappointment over yet another incident devastating their beloved but struggling city.
In the meantime, helicopters are dousing the flames while firefighters and local officials do all they can to get the fire under control during a time where the city is still trying to recover from last month's blast.
The new fire is bound to further erode public trust in state officials and trigger more protests over corruption. In the past month, there have been calls for Lebanon's government to step down and for President Michel Aoun to resign.
Lebanon is not in a good situation as it had already been struggling financially in the months before the blast. The World Bank has been forecasting that half of the distressed country's already conflicted population will become poor in 2020 adding to the residents' many problems.