DUBAI: A fire broke out in a building in the souk area of Beirut, designed by the company founded by famous UK-Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, on Tuesday, as it underwent repairs caused by the devastating Aug. 4 blast.
Mobile phone footage shows flames lapping up the side of the building, and debris can be heard falling to the ground.
First Lieutenant Michel Al-Murr, of the Beirut Fire Brigade, told Arab News that “the fire was large, but firefighters were quick to respond and were able to bring it under control, preventing it from spreading further.”
Al-Murr said the fire was mostly on the exterior of the building which has materials made from “fiberglass and resin, and compressed.”
An investigation into the cause of the blaze is underway, but local media has quoted a worker as saying that black tar was being worked on at the site using a gas fueled flame.
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects & Samir Khairallah & Partners, the 26,370 m² mixed use development, that is still under construction, includes retail and residential spaces and was due for completion in 2019 , but was delayed.
“The building was severely damaged by the Aug. 4 blast," Abdul Rahman Sultan, the owner of the steel company that was working on the implementation of the design of the building’s facade, told Arab News.
"The value of the damage was up to $7 million, and with this fire, the damage must have doubled,” he said.
“It should have been finished in 2019, but bad events continue in downtown Beirut, the date of its opening has delayed. Now, I doubt that it will rise again in light of these losses.”
يعمل عناصر من الدفاع المدني في هذه الاثناء على إخماد النيران التي اندلعت داخل مجمع تجاري قيد الانشاء في وسط بيروت. وقد تمت السيطرة على الحريق ولم يسجل وقوع اي اصابات. https://t.co/C0TlzMaVW0
— Salman Andary (@salmanonline) September 15, 2020
Tuesay’s incident is Beirut’s second major fire in less than a week, on Thursday a blaze ripped through a warehouse in Beirut’s port area that contained aid.
It is little over a month since the devastating explosion in the city’s port, that killed scores and injured more than 6,000 people on Aug. 4, 2020.