Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Part of Beirut’s blast-damaged port silos collapses
31 July 2022, 18:04
A fire had broken out in the northern block of the silos due to fermenting grains
A section of Beirut’s massive port grain silos, shredded in the 2020 explosion, collapsed on Sunday after a weeks-long fire triggered by grains that had fermented and ignited in the summer heat.
The northern block of the silos collapsed in a huge cloud of dust after what sounded like an explosion.
It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured.
The 50-year-old, 48m tall giant silos withstood the force of the explosion two years ago, effectively shielding the western part of Beirut from the blast that killed more than 200 people, wounded more than 6,000 and badly damaged entire neighbourhoods.
A fire had broken out in the northern block of the silos due to fermenting grains.
Firefighters and Lebanese army soldiers were unable to put out the fire which continued smouldering for weeks, releasing bad odours into nearby cities.
The environment and health ministries last week issued instructions to residents living near the port to stay indoors in well-ventilated spaces.
Emmanuel Durand, a French civil engineer who volunteered for the government-commissioned team of experts, told the Associated Press that the northern block of the silo has been tipping since the day of the blast, but the fire weakened its frail structure, accelerating its collapse.