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

Part of Beirut port silos, damaged in 2020 blast, collapses
The northern section of Beirut's port grain silos, severely damaged in the 2020 port explosion, have collapsed
2 min read
Authorities and civilians have anticipated the collapse for weeks [Getty]

A section of Beirut's massive port grain silos, shredded in the 2020 explosion, collapsed on Sunday after a weekslong fire triggered by grains that had fermented and ignited in the summer heat.

Footage of the incident showed the northern part of the silo crumbling and a large cloud billowing up after debris hit the ground.

Nobody was injured, as an evacuation process had taken place days earlier in anticipation. 

Sunday's partial collapse came around two weeks after a fire erupted in the port's northern silos due to the fermentation of remaining grain stocks along with soaring summer temperatures, according to authorities.

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, told the Associated Press that the northern block of the silo has already been tipping since the day of the blast, but the fire has weakened its frail structure, accelerating its collapse.

Once boasting a capacity of more than 100,000 tonnes, the 50 year-old, 48-meter tall giant silos withstood the force of the explosion two years ago, effectively shielding the western part of Beirut from the blast that killed over 200 people, wounded more than 6,000 and badly damaged entire neighborhoods.

The government in April ordered their demolition due to safety concerns, but that move was suspended amid objections, including from relatives of blast victims who want the silos preserved as a memorial site.

The Lebanese investigation into the blast has faced systematic and blatant political obstruction from day one.