A store of oil and tires at Beirut port burst into flames on Thursday but there were no immediate reports of injuries, a little more than a month after a massive blast devastated the port and surrounding residential area of the Lebanese capital.
The army said it was not immediately clear why the oil and tires had erupted in flames and said it was sending helicopters to help bring the fire under control. Television footage showed a helicopter dropping water on the blaze.
The blaze erupted in the duty free zone of the port, sending a huge column of smoke above a city still traumatized by the explosion on Aug. 4 that killed about 190 people and injured 6,000 people.
The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettaneh, said there was no fear of another explosion as a result of the flames and said there were no injuries, although he said there were some people suffering from shortness of breath as a result.
The Aug. 4 explosion killed more than 190 people, injured around 6,500 and damaged thousands of buildings in the Lebanese capital. The sight of another huge fire a month later created panic among residents traumatized by last month’s explosion.
Television footage showed firefighters trying to douse the blaze in an area surrounded by the mangled remains of warehouses that were destroyed in the explosion last month.
The blast was caused by a huge store of ammonium nitrate that had been kept at the port in poor condition for years.
Police spokesman Col. Joseph Msalam said they have no information about what is happening at the port adding that the facility is currently under the control of the army.
Asked about reports that the fire was caused by burning tires and oil, he said “I don’t know. It could be containers. I really don’t know what is there.”
— With files from the Associated Press