Firefighters who responded to the fire at the port in Beirut last Tuesday were not given the location or the keys to the burning warehouse holding 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, according to sources from the Lebanese capital’s fire department who spoke to The Independent.
Beirut’s fire department officials told the Independent’s Bel Trew that the 10 fire crew members, including one female firefighter, who arrived on the scene were not given much information, delaying their response to contain the initial fire prior to the stockpile of ammonium nitrate exploding in a second larger blast.
“If they had the hangar door open already, if they knew where they were going, they might have had moments to control the fire. So you would not have had the first initial explosion that triggered the larger blast,” Fadi Mazboudi, a fire department chief, told the Independent.
Over 150 people were killed and more than 6,000 others were injured in the capital last Tuesday when a warehouse storing 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded after catching on fire.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced his resignation Monday after thousands of protesters took to the streets of Beirut in the days after the deadly explosion.
Since the explosion, 300,000 people in Beirut have been left homeless after the shockwave from the larger second blast destroyed and damaged homes in the capital.