Huge fire erupts in Beirut port a month after explosion

A huge fire has broken out at Beirut’s port, causing panic among residents who were left traumatised by last month’s massive explosion there that killed and injured thousands of people.

The blaze broke out where an aid agency had been storing food and cooking oil.

Firefighters and military officials spent hours trying to put the fire out, using helicopters to drop water on it, before getting it under control on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire at the facility, which was destroyed by the explosion on 4 August, when nearly 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonated and caused severe damage.

The head of civil defence told Lebanon’s AlJadeed television it was not sure what materials were burning. However, he urged residents to stay calm, saying the fire was contained in one place.

Footage shared on social media showed port workers running away as the fire broke out at the duty-free zone in the port.

The head of Lebanon's Red Cross, George Kettaneh, said some people were suffering from shortness of breath, but there were no reports of injuries.

Red Cross Regional Director Fabrizio Carboni said the warehouse stocked thousands of food parcels.

He added that the humanitarian operation is at risk of serious disruption.

The Lebanese army announced in a tweet on Thursday that military police had begun an investigation into the blaze.

Last month's explosion killed more than 190 people, injured about 6,500 and damaged thousands of buildings in the capital. The sight of another huge fire only a month later created panic among residents.