Beirut's grain silos partially collapse after burning for 2 weeks
Two towers collapse in the northern section of the silos after a two-week fire.
Beirut port's grain silos partially collapsed on Sunday, just before the second-year anniversary of the disastrous port explosion which destroyed the city and killed over 200 and injured more than 6,500.
Clouds of dust covered the port area as the silos collapsed - local media reported that 2 towers fell from the northern section of the silos where a fire has been burning for more than 2 weeks.
The Minister of Public Works and Transport in the Lebanese caretaker government, Ali Hamiyeh, said that two silos had collapsed from the northern side. The total number of grain silos is 40, and the minister said he expected most of the silos to collapse.
Hamiyeh pointed out that the collapse of the two silos today was "expected according to government technical reports", and he also suggested that "most of the other silos" would collapse in succession.
The Lebanese Minister told Al Mayadeen explained that the army is using helicopters to extinguish the collapsed silos, adding that there is no fear of toxic emissions, explaining that the government is about to "assign technical committees to examine the silos again."
Hamiyeh said in an interview with Al Mayadeen that the silos structure building is no longer considered a crime scene by a judicial decision, stressing: "We are determined to rebuild it."
The northern block of the Beirut port silos collapsed at around 5 pm today, almost two years after being damaged by the Beirut blast.pic.twitter.com/No4wzrp5hB— Beirut Today (@bey_today) July 31, 2022
Much of the explosion's impact was absorbed by the structure on August 4, 2020. The explosion two years back was caused by tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizers catching fire.
Two weeks ago, a fire erupted in the northern part of the silos due to the fermentation of remaining grain stocks, exacerbated by scorching weather temperatures, according to authorities.
Najib Mikati, Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister, warned that the silos would fall soon.
"The northern group of silos are now in danger of falling," Najib Mikati said Wednesday in a statement, adding that the silos still contain thousands of tonnes of wheat and corn.
He warned workers, civil defense members, and firefighters to keep their distance from the location while keeping the army on alert.
The silos, which hold a capacity of over 100,000 tonnes, have become a symbol of the Beirut explosion.
In April, the Lebanese government ordered that the premises demolish, however it was suspended due to objections including from the families of the victims who demand the silos become a memorial site of the catastrophe.
The authorities were not able to extract the 3,000 tonnes of wheat and corn that were stuck in the silos, since the move would probably accelerate the collapse.
The ministries of environment and health warned the public to evacuate the port area and wear masks in case the silos collapse.