The Environment and Health Ministries of Lebanon have advised residents near the port of Beirut to wear masks and stay inside since one of the massive silos there may partially collapse.
Due to 800 tons of grain inside fermenting in the hot weather for the previous two weeks, a fire in the northern block of the silos has been burning.
The ministries believe that, should the structure collapse, dust from construction debris and some fungi from rotting grains in the silos could heavily disseminate for up to 24 hours.
The silos withstood the impact of the devastating August 2020 blast, effectively acting as a shield to protect Beirut’s western neighborhoods from the explosion.
The massive blast was caused by hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilizers, that had been improperly stored for years at the port’s warehouse.
The explosion tore through the Lebanese capital, and killed over 200 people and wounded over 6,000 more.
A French civil engineer who volunteered for the government-commissioned team of experts warned that a collapse of the north block was inevitable as it was already tilting since the port blast.
The engineer, who has been monitoring the silo for two years via sensors, told The Associated Press that the fire accelerated the buildings’ speed of tilting over.