Beirut port fire revives trauma of deadly blast

STORY: The fire has been burning slowly in the ruins of the port's grain silos, giving off an orange glow visible at night from neighborhoods that were most badly damaged by the August 4, 2020 chemical explosion that killed more than 215 people.

The authorities say it is the result of summer heat igniting fermenting grain left in the silos since the blast, one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions ever recorded.

"My heart is burning when I see the fire at the port," said Mona Jawish, whose daughter was killed in the blast.

"They are taking us back to the day of the crime," she added, as she took part in a protest on Wednesday (July 13) by victims' families who want the silos preserved to commemorate the dead.

Economy Minister Amin Salam told journalists gathered at the port on Thursday (July 14) that it was not the first fire to erupt in the silos.

"The technical team is studying the best option," Salam said. "We aren't saying that there is no solution, but we are trying to find solutions whose consequences aren't bigger than the repercussions we are trying to avoid."

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