Four grain silos collapsed in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday. The 50-meter structures had been burning for several weeks, and partially collapsed at the end of last month.
Video footage shared on social media captured the moment the structures fell to the ground, sending a cloud of smoke, dust and debris into the air.
The collapse occurred two years to the day after an enormous explosion killed 190 people, injured another 6,000, and laid waste to much of the city. The blast was blamed on an improperly stored stash of ammonium nitrate, and the fallout from the incident toppled the country’s government, cratered its economy, and jeopardized its food security.
The silos had been tilting for several days, with French civil engineer Emmanuel Durand telling Lebanese news site L’Orient Today on Wednesday that a collapse would occur “at any time” in the coming hours. Port workers had been evacuated from the surrounding area and roads near the silos were closed.
The structures have been burning for several weeks, with authorities blaming the fire on grain that had fermented in the summer heat before combusting. Amid the blaze, four silos in the same had collapsed a week previously, leaving eight still standing. An adjacent block of 16 silos has not shown signs of tilting, Durand stated in an earlier update.
A probe into the 2020 blast has been stalled since December, AP reported, citing legal challenges from officials under investigation. Nobody has faced legal repercussions for the explosion, and at the moment of the latest collapse, hundreds of people were taking part in a protest march to demand accountability.
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