Details are still limited, but a gigantic explosion has rocked the area in the vicinity of the Port of Beirut, which is very close to the center of the city. Initial reports indicate that a ship carrying fireworks caught fire and exploded. Videos and pictures on social media from the scene show an initial explosion, with a big ball of smoke, which is then followed by a much larger secondary explosion resulting in a huge fireball and shockwave.
The source of the explosion was initially believed to be a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port in Beirut, the state-run National News Agency reported.The blast sent up a huge mushroom cloud-like shockwave and damaged buildings miles from the port, including the headquarters of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and CNN’s bureau in downtown Beirut.
A CNN producer in Beirut has described the “chaotic scene,” in the emergency room of one Beirut’s hospitals, with doctors conducting triage as they try to treat dozens of people injured in Tuesday’s explosion.
“Some people had broken limbs, some showered with glass,” Ghazi Balkiz said.
“I walked in, I saw a few people lying on the floor — doctors trying to put IVs into them. A couple of people were passed out,” he added.
The possible second explosion was reported to be at the Hariri residence in the city. Lebanon’s health minister, Hamad Hasan, has spoken of many injuries and extensive damage.