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Fire at Beirut Port Stretches Nerves of Local Residents

Beirut’s port was once again the center of international attention on Thursday when a large fire broke out in almost the same location as the massive blast that caused widespread damage on August 4. No casualties were reported in Thursday’s blaze, which sent up billows of black smoke as old tires and oil burned throughout the day. The cause has yet to be determined. Authorities blocked all roads leading to the port and brought in helicopters to dump heavy loads of water in an effort to assist firefighters on the ground. The Lebanese capital is still reeling from last month’s explosion, which claimed the lives of nearly 200 people, injured over 6,500 and left hundreds of thousands of residents at least temporarily homeless. The blast was a result of what appears to have been the negligent storage of some 2,700 tons of highly volatile ammonium nitrate at a port warehouse. Some residents were reported to have fled the city due to Thursday’s fire, their nerves stretched to the limit.