Not less than 100 people have now been confirmed dead and more than 4,000 severely injured in an explosion which took place in Beirut, Lebanon, which has now been alleged to be caused by a welder at work.
It was said that just above were the welder was working, there was a “highly explosive sodium nitrate” confiscated from a ship by Lebanese authorities and placed in one of the warehouses located near the harbour. The ammonium nitrate – more than 2,750 tons – had been stored in the warehouse for six years.
According to security sources in the country, the welder sparked the initial fire which then ignited the chemicals, causing a blast that has been compared to a “nuclear bomb”.
They noted that seismic shockwaves were sent through the city on Tuesday evening, August 4, which destroyed buildings and shattered windows.
A lot of people especially those who were home during the incidence are said to be still be trapped in the rubbles.
As at this morning, smoke was still rising from the port, where a towering grain silo was shattered. Toxic gases were been reported in the aftermath along with strange orange clouds, with the US Embassy warning any Americans in Beirut to stay inside.
The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross said: “What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe. There are victims and casualties everywhere.”
Ammonium nitrate is mainly used as a fertilizer but can become dangerous and have also been linked to terror attacks after being used in homemade bombs.
General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim noted that the chemicals had been confiscated years earlier, from a ship.