An explosion and fuel tank fire in the Lebanese capital on Friday killed four people, Rescuers said, as panic spread in a city that was ravaged by a monster explosion back in August.
A Beirut television station said more than 30 people were injured in the fire. A medical source added that three children were hospitalized with burns.
Firefighters using mobile ladders evacuated people from buildings in the busy Tariq al-Jdide neighborhood.
“The number of victims rose to four,” said the Lebanese Red Cross on its Twitter account, updating the number of victims from two dead.
The General Secretary of the Red Cross, Georges Kettane, added that “the injured were taken to hospital,” reported the national news agency ANI.
Lebanese television Al-Jadeed reported that more than 30 people were injured when it broadcast pictures of flames on a street and sounds of people screaming in panic.
“Feared such an accident”
The state news agency said a fuel tank exploded, started a fire and claimed victims.
Fireman Ali Najm said there was a fire and explosion in a warehouse with a fuel oil tank, and the cause of the explosion is still unknown.
A security source said the fire took place in an underground building that also contained gasoline.
The source said authorities had arrested the owner who manages one of the many private generator services that provide electricity to residents during frequent blackouts.
Over the past few weeks, the Beirut municipality has been looking for camps that could break the law or pose a threat to residential areas, Governor Marwan Aboud told Al-Jadeed.
“We feared that such an accident could happen,” Aboud said, adding that around 100 locations have been identified as suspicious.
“We have ordered some of them to be closed and others to put in place procedures to protect the public,” he added.
Private generator services are proliferating across the country and are sometimes accused of being a real mafia profiting from power shortages. This has forced citizens to resort to subscriptions for decades to deal with frequent power outages.
Friday’s explosion was the last in a series of dire events in a country hit by an unprecedented economic crisis and a lack of basic public services.
Since a catastrophic explosion on August 4, several fires have broken out in Beirut’s port, killing 203 people, injuring at least 6,500 others and devastating parts of the capital.
That explosion came as Lebanon was grappling with its worst financial crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war and the political conflicts exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Much public opinion blames the August 4th explosion for a corrupt and incompetent class of leaders and politicians who have remained practically the same for decades.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)