Huge Blaze Destroys Beirut Warehouse Containing Toxic Substances
A huge fire Friday destroyed a warehouse containing toxic products in a suburb of Beirut, causing damage estimated at 20 million dollars.
Firemen fought the blaze for some 10 hours before bringing it under control.
Civil defense chief Georges Abu Mussa told state television the warehouse contained electrical goods, gas cylinders and containers of insecticide, which exploded, making the fire fiercer.
The owner of the 4,000 square meter (43,000 square foot) building, Joseph Naccache, put the cost of the blaze at 20 million dollars.
Smoke from the burning building blackened the Beirut sky and the main highway north of Beirut was closed, causing huge traffic jams.
Environmental organization Greenpeace slammed the authorities' failure to take precautions after the fire broke out.
"The authorities took no steps to warn the public of the dangers of toxic emissions containing heavy metals, dioxin and furans (which) cause cancer and are liable to harm the nervous system," a statement said.
Interior Minister Elias Murr visited the scene and announced an inquiry into the cause of the fire -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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