A huge fire raged in the duty-free area of Beirut’s port on Thursday. Lebanese citizens, who are still reeling from the devastating explosion of improperly stored ammonium nitrate that devastated the port area last month, were close to panic.
Huge flames and thick black columns of smoke rose into the sky. The fire raged for many hours before finally being put out Thursday night. After briefly reigniting during the evening, Lebanese fire officials stated that they had doused the flames on early Friday morning and were still soaking the area to prevent any more flareups.
The Lebanese army said that the blaze had begun in a warehouse that stored cooking oil; it then spread to where tires were stored nearby. Fire investigators believe that welding done nearby caused the blaze, as their initial efforts were to contain and extinguish the fire. Army helicopters also took part in extinguishing the fire, according to a statement by the Lebanese military.
There were no casualties reported. The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettaneh, said that some people were suffering from shortness of breath. He added that unlike the huge explosion that occurred five weeks ago, this fire caused no danger of an explosion.