A massive explosion, which is currently thought to be the result of a fire, claimed at least 10 lives in the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. As this is breaking news, the details of the story may change over time.
NNA, the state-operated news agency, reported that the explosion took place as a big fire was started in a warehouse where firecrackers are stored. The warehouse is located very near Beirut’s main port, and firefighters have been dispatched to extinguish the fire.
Ben Wedeman, CNN’s local correspondent, relayed how it was one of the largest explosions he ever heard although he is no stranger to explosions. The impact of the explosion reportedly blew out many windows.
Wedeman says that red smoke coming off the warehouse where the explosion is said to have taken place can be seen all throughout the city. The scale of the explosion was so great that houses within 10km (6 miles) of the warehouse are said to have been affected by it.
One local resident who lives a good distance away from the warehouse said the moment she felt her building shake horizontally, she thought it was an earthquake. In the way she explains the explosion, it becomes clear that the explosion was indeed a massive one.
The Lebanese Red Cross said that it has mobilized all of its members to be dispatched to the scene immediately. Through Twitter, they asked that the people give way for any ambulances that may be on the streets so that their medics can treat those who have been injured.
Although the exact number of casualties have not yet been confirmed, the Minister of Health has ordered all nearby hospitals to prepare themselves for an influx of patients following the explosion.
As of now, the chances that the explosion is a result of military or terrorist attack seems low. The Hezbollah, Lebanon’s military organization, rejected the notion that the fire or the explosion was caused by an Israeli attack on the warehouse.
Unsurprisingly, the situations in the hospitals of Beirut are said to be hectic. Doctors are reported as running around the corridors and deciding which patients to treat first while dozens of other patients waited for their turn.
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