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Part of Beirut port silos, damaged in 2020 blast, collapses

BEIRUT (AP) — Part of Beirut’s massive port grain silos, shredded in the 2020 explosion, collapses after a weekslong fire.

The northern block of the silos collapses in a huge cloud of dust after what sounded like an explosion. It is not immediately clear if anyone was injured.

The 50-year-old, 48-meter tall giant silos withstood the force of the explosion, effectively shielding the western part of Beirut from the explosion that killed over 200 people, wounded more than 6,000, and badly damaged entire neighborhoods.

In July, a fire broke out in the northern block of the silos due to fermenting grains. Firefighters and Lebanese Army soldiers were unable to put out the fire which continue smoldering for weeks, releasing odors into nearby cities. The environment and health ministries last week issued instructions to residents living near the port to stay indoors in well-ventilated spaces.

Emmanuel Durand, a French civil engineer who volunteered for the government-commissioned team of experts, tells the Associated Press that the northern block of the silo had already been tipping since the day of the blast, but the fire has weakened its frail structure, accelerating its collapse.

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