Large explosion in Beirut

BBC: Summary

  • A huge blast in Beirut has killed at least 27 people, Lebanon’s health minister says
  • More than 2,000 others have been injured
  • The cause of the explosion in the city’s port area is not yet known
  • Reports suggest the blast was at a warehouse housing explosives
  • It comes at a sensitive time with the country’s economic crisis reigniting old divisions
  • Tensions are also high ahead of Friday’s verdict in the trial of four suspects for the murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri
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48 Comments

  1. David

     /  5th August 2020

    The video is horrific, those poor people.

    Reply
  2. Duker

     /  5th August 2020

    The warehouse clearly contained military munitions, the orange cloud suggests to me it was rocket fuel. We do know that Israel has been for a long time been targeting Iranian Rocket supplies for Hezbollah. Their airstrikes were normally on convoys carrying rockets that came by the overland route from Iran. Maybe they found out that some were arriving by ship in a more clandestine way and stored dockside , or it may have been the ship itself that went up. There apparently wasnt any preceding air strike so it could have been an accidental initial explosion or Israeli sabotage.

    Reply
    • I’m not so sure of your sources Duker

      What I’m hearing on Al Jadeed TV is that the fire started near a fireworks factory and the secondary explosion was a chemical store containing 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been unloaded from a ship in the adjoining port area.

      BASF built a large facility in Oppau, Germany, at the end of the 19th century. They ran a large Haber-Bosch nitrogen fixation operation there until 450 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded in 1921. The blast from that explosion damaged buildings in Frankfurt, 85kms away.

      Any fire near a storage area for ammonium nitrate should be considered a potential disaster.

      Reply
      • From AlJaz

        19:13 GMT – Israel: No reason not to believe Beirut blast was an accident
        Commenting to Israel’s Channel 12, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi says the massive explosion in Beirut “was an accident caused by a fire. I suggest caution with speculation – I do not see any reason not to believe the reports from Beirut”.

        18:08 GMT – Ammonium nitrate stored in the port:
        The Lebanese Interior Minister has said that ammonium nitrate was stored in the port, which is what caused the explosion, local media reported. He said Lebanese customs should be asked about why it was there. Lebanon-based broadcaster Mayadeen cited the country’s customs director saying tonnes of nitrate exploded.

        https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/huge-explosion-rocks-lebanon-capital-beirut-live-updates-200804163620414.html

        Reply
      • as to the orange cloud, that’s post-blast fumes. The colour is typical of a rocket fuel explosion, esp. the nitrogen tetroxide fuel component.

        But they’re also a product of an ammonium nitrate detonation, which has a yellow-to-orange post-blast nitrogen oxide fume cloud. Used to see a bit of this in surface blasting in Aussie coal mines when blast design parameters weren’t calculated properly, or when the explosive was contaminated in the blast hole.

        The fumes are typically due to incomplete detonation of the explosive product.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  5th August 2020

          From your link above. Updates.

          “21:11 GMT – ‘Unacceptable’ that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored without safety measures: President Aoun
          In remarks published on the Presidency Twitter account, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said that it is “unacceptable” that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures and vowed that those responsible would face the “harshest punishments”.

          21:00 GMT – 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port when they exploded: Official
          General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim says 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate were in Beirut’s port on the way to Africa when they exploded.

          Ibrahim made the comments after a meeting of Lebanon’s Higher Defense Council, which brings together the president and all major security agencies.”

          Reporting is still very confused, unsurprisingly. One commentator said the orange explosion is consistent with a nitrate explosion. Another said that half of Beirut has been destroyed.

          Reply
          • 2,750 tonnes makes it larger than the 1947 Texas City disaster, when a consignment of 2,300 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded… which, correct me if I’m wrong, means the Beirut explosion was the largest non-nuclear detonation in human history.

            Initially reported as near a fireworks factory but now suggesting it was at an oil storage facility or a chemicals storage facility.

            FFS, petrochemicals stored alongside a 2,750 tonne heap of ANFO precursor????? What the fuck were they doing?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  5th August 2020

              Lebanon & Beirut itself are basket cases. There’s no working city administration. Corruption is rife, there’s no enforcement of building or safety standards. Not even road policing. Daily power cuts.

              Still not clear who imported this ammonium nitrate. Aljaz tv commentator said it was confiscated off a ship by Cout Order in 2014. All very murky.

            • no argument there Gezza – the whole place is rife with corruption, etc., and still technically at war with Israel (who are now sending humanitarian aid to their “enemies” as a result of this).

              21:00 GMT – 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port when they exploded: Official General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim said some 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate were in Beirut’s port on the way to Africa when they exploded. Ibrahim made the comments after the meeting of Lebanon’s Higher Defence Council.

              https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/huge-explosion-rocks-lebanon-capital-beirut-live-updates-200804163620414.html

              Meanwhile the worlds ‘greatest expert’ on pandemics claims “it looks like a terrible attack” – must be Duker’s source…

            • Gezza

               /  5th August 2020

              Yes, I noted that report that the AN was on its way to Africa but it’s been stored in a port warehouse for 6 years, after a court ordered confiscation, apparently while there have been legal moves to get it released. But I’ve not yet seen or heard who was importing it, why it was stored for so long, or which country it was headed for. So nobody seems to know these things yet.

            • Duker

               /  5th August 2020

              Dont you think the AN story is getting bigger lies upon smaller lies.
              This was a much smaller quantity that blew at at chinese port Tianjin in a dangerous chemicals facility

            • Gezza

               /  5th August 2020

              As explosions go, that explosion & blast wave is quite slow moving. That could be consistent with fertiliser expanding / exploding / burning as it is blasted upwards. But as to what set it off – who knows?

              Cellcam video & some early witness reports suggest it followed an initial smaller explosion and fire, in which multiple small, brilliant white explosive flashes can be seen going off. Then there’s that huge blast with the orange / black burning rising cloud.

              A very early female witness on Aljaz tv said when she heard the first explosion she thought she heard an aircraft or drone & looked out her window at the sky but then was blown across her room by the 2nd huge blast as her windows and the whole room were wrecked.

              I don’t think anybody knows enuf yet to answer all the questions arising.

            • Duker

               /  5th August 2020

              Largest man made explosion….the winner is …Halifax Explosion
              “On 6 December 1917 SS Imo and SS Mont-Blanc collided in the harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mont-Blanc carried 2,653 tonnes of various explosives, mostly picric acid. After the collision the ship caught fire, drifted into town, and exploded. 1,950 people were killed and much of Halifax was destroyed. An evaluation of the explosion’s force puts it at 2.9 kilotons of TNT (12 TJ).[26] Halifax historian Jay White in 1994 concluded “Halifax Harbour remains unchallenged in overall magnitude as long as five criteria are considered together: number of casualties, force of blast, radius of devastation, quantity of explosive material, and total value of property destroyed.”
              The munitions were much more explosive than AN

              https://theconversation.com/five-of-the-most-explosive-non-nuclear-chemicals-ever-made-72702

          • Pink David

             /  5th August 2020

            “ammonium nitrate”

            Yeap. Fertilizer is dangerous. Large amounts of it in one place is really dangerious.

            Texas City etc.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  5th August 2020

              Halifax Canada- port ammunition explosion
              Port Angeles, San Franciso Bay – ammunition explosion

            • Duker

               /  5th August 2020

              Port Chicago , San Francisco Bay

              This may have been bigger
              “Many very large detonations have been carried out in order to simulate the effects of nuclear weapons on vehicles and other military material.[57] The largest publicly known test was conducted by the United States Defense Nuclear Agency (now part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency) on 27 June 1985 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. This test, called Minor Scale, used 4,744 short tons (4,304 t) of ANFO, with a yield of about 4 kt (3,900 long tons; 4,400 short tons).[58] Misty Picture was another similar test a few years later, slightly smaller at 4,685 short tons or 4,250 t.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largest_artificial_non-nuclear_explosions
              And the fireball

              Wonder if there was an ‘orange smoke cloud’

      • Updates as at 10am, NZT
        – the Lebanese PM says 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded in port
        – 73 dead, 3,700 wounded
        – hospitals unable to treat wounded as they have been too badly damaged
        – blast felt in Cyprus 250kms away

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  5th August 2020

        ” fireworks factory and the secondary explosion was a chemical store containing 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate ”
        Flimsy cover stories …fireworks factories arent in major cities like that for obvious reasons
        ammonium nitrate is just a cover story
        Back in 2015 a similar cloud from a chemical explosion in Spain in Igualada near Barcelona.
        “Firefighters said the chemicals were nitric acid and ferric chloride.”

        Guess what the rocket fuel the Nazis used ? Nitric acid and ferric chloride ( The fuel is important not the nazis)
        “S-Stoff, a WW2 German rocket fuel, is made by mixing nitric acid with ferric chloride. It was the fuel used in the experimental Ruhrstahl X-4. It is also known as red fuming nitric acid.”

        The modern equivalents maybe slightly different.

        Reply
        • you need help Duker

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  5th August 2020

            Initial stories of disaster are always wrong… half the city isnt leveled…just glass blown out over a wide area
            I have a similar coloured toxic cloud , wheres your ammonium nitrate cloud picture?
            Lebanon has other small ports to bring in ammonium nitrate fertilizer any way more stories are now mentioning ‘other chemicals’
            By the weekend the useful idiots who follow the fertilizer angle will have egg on face

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  5th August 2020
            • duperez

               /  5th August 2020

              The useful idiots who follow the fertilizer angle will have egg on face?
              And the useless idiots?
              “At a news conference, President Trump called the explosion a “terrible attack” and said U.S. generals seemed to feel that it was the result of a “bomb of some kind.” But military officials said they had yet to make a solid assessment of the explosion.”

        • The fact-free fun never ends with Duker:

          “Flimsy cover stories …fireworks factories arent in major cities like that for obvious reasons”

          Dear Duker, tell that to:
          – the city dwellers of Guanghan in China’s Sichuan province (June 2020),
          – or the city-dwellers of Yichun in Heilongjiang province (August 2010),
          – or of Tangerag City in Indonesia (October 2017),
          – or Enschede in the Netherlands (May 2000)
          – or Mexico City (December, 1988)
          – or San Pablito Market, in the city of Tultepec, Mexico (Dec 2016)

          Within the past 100 years there have been nearly 40 lethal explosions in fireworks factories located in cities.

          Reply
    • Pink David

       /  5th August 2020

      “The warehouse clearly contained military munitions, the orange cloud suggests to me it was rocket fuel.”

      Comical. Truly comical.

      Reply
      • well to be fair if the ammonium nitrate was stored alongside petrochemicals then it did amount to a loose form of munitions – only more in the homemade style of the Oklahoma City bombing.

        my heart goes out to the people of Beirut – after everything they’ve been through, to have much of their city leveled in such a devastating accident. Poor buggers.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  5th August 2020

          Much of the city isnt leveled, the port area badly damaged , that claim is TV and newspaper hyperbole
          “The larger explosion, at 6:08 p.m., blew out the glass from balconies and windows of buildings several miles away from the port and at least one building collapsed from the force of the blast. One resident said the streets looked like they were “cobbled in glass.”

          Reply
        • Pink David

           /  5th August 2020

          ” loose form of munitions ”

          Yes, chemicals go bang in the right situation. Chemicals are no munitions until they are actually munition, for which evidence is completely absent. Given Dukers many, many posts about facts and being ‘right’ and such like, it’s very funny to watch him just pull shit out of his ass. He will now spend much time trying to prove he was right, looking for any detail he can leverage, while never addressing the fundamental errors. I do wonder how well that worked in his career.

          Rocket fuel can be as simple as kerosene and O2. The thing that makes it rocket fuel is an actual rocket.

          The first clues to ammonium nitrate are simple, it’s a port, it’s a very, very large explosion. Weapon explosions on that scale are rare, large ammonium nitrate disasters are very couple of years.

          Reply
      • Duker

         /  5th August 2020

        See above pictures of the Spanish explosion which mentioned the chemicals involved. last laugh to me as usual

        Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  5th August 2020

    Its a symbol….its all over for Donald.

    Reply
  4. Brian Johnston

     /  5th August 2020

    You guys are all arguing over disinformation. If the nitrate was on its way to Africa why not mention which country. I suspect the explosion was deliberate. An attack. Duker’s first comment makes sense. Sabotage.

    Reply
  5. duperez

     /  5th August 2020

    I was accused of having a vivid imagination the other day. The theories are coming thick and fast about what it was, why it was there, what happened, who was involved and their motivation.

    Are there prizes for the most accurate and the most extreme? Maybe it was the Woodhouse homeless man. Maybe it was the junior staffer. Maybe it was an apprentice who’s worked on the roof of a faraway convention centre.

    Reply
  6. Griff.

     /  5th August 2020

    Anfo is a commercial explosive used in mining.
    Amonia nitrate and fuel oil aka Diesel and chicken shit
    In this case it looks like a Fire then primary explosion that set of the stored AN
    Even flour or milk powder can explode in those circumstance.
    Nitric acid and cotton is also an effective explosive. Google myth busters exploding trousers for a kiwi example .

    Reply
  7. Very extensive damage

    Reply
  8. Years ago, two children broke into the caretakers shed at a school in NZ and mixed fertiliser and (bleach ?)

    The result was an explosion that blew them and the building to pieces. I remember it because I had had no idea that fertiliser could do that.

    Reply
  9. Corky

     /  5th August 2020

    Something not right here.

    Reply
  10. Brian Johnston

     /  5th August 2020

    Slow down guys. The caretakers shed may have had chlorine in it and that stuff can explode, I’m just not sure how much as in lethal.

    Reply
  11. Brian Johnston

     /  5th August 2020

    Update. Latest by The Donald, he suggests it may have been a bomb of some sort. Well I am glad we have that sorted, after all, he is the man. Go The Donald.

    Reply

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