Fire at Lebanon's Zahrani oil facility contained
A large fire that broke out in one of the tanks containing benzene at the Al-Zahrani oil facility in southern Lebanon on Monday, 11 October 2021, has been brought under control, according to Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA). The cause of the fire is as of yet unknown. Fire fighters are working to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to additional tanks. The Lebanese Army worked to evacuate people from the area near the oil facility amid concerns of the fire spreading or causing an explosion. The Lebanese Army stated that the fuel tank was filled with benzene and that they, alongside the fire fighters, ensured that the fire didn't spread to the other tanks.
Fire trucks from Beirut some 45 km (30 miles) away were ordered to go and help.
Lebanon's Energy Minister Walid Fayyad said that the fire began when an army fuel tank ignited during the transportation process. However, he didn't comment further saying that he will wait for the results of the investigation and that right now the priority is people's safety.
Lebanon's General Prosecutor in the South, Judge Rahif Ramadan, opened an investigation into the circumstances of the fire on Monday.
After a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday, Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad stated that the oil tank belonged to the Lebanese Army and that the fire had been contained. The minister has requested a report on the incident and its causes in order to prevent such incidents in the future.
On Sunday, Fayyad announced that the electrical network in the country had returned to normal operation after totally crashing after fuel from the Lebanese Army was provided to the Deir Ammar and Al-Zahrani power plants.
The Al-Zahrani power plant is located in the vicinity of the oil facility where the fire broke out on Monday. It is unclear if the oil tank that caught fire contained fuel that was intended for the power plant.
In August, about 30 people were killed and about 80 were injured after a fuel tank exploded in the Akkar region of northern Lebanon.
Source: The Jerusalem Post, Breaking the News