A serious fire has broken out at Beirut Souks, an under-constructed building designed by world-renowned firm Zaha Hadid architects.
Footage shows smoke pouring from the perforated façade of the building, while bystanders look on. The fire occurs just a month after a devastating explosion destroyed the nearby port area. Residents of the city have been left understandably shaken by yet another serious incident at the heart of their city.
“It’s terrible. It’s unbelievable,” said local Joe Sayegh, 48. “Every day we have a problem.”
According to @MTVLebanonNews, preliminary information shows that the fire was reportedly caused by a welding accident.
— Luna Safwan – لونا صفوان (@LunaSafwan) September 15, 2020
— Beirut.com (@BeirutCityGuide) September 15, 2020
While the fire now appears to be under control, there will undoubtedly be inquiries into what caused the fire to start and spread so rapidly. A Facebook user who reportedly worked on the project states that the façade material is for the building is “aluminum, insulated on the inside with a foam material.”
There have been numerous recent fires involving insulated façade panels that have raised questions about the safety of certain building specifications. One such incident in Grenfell Tower, London — a building constructed in the 1970s — lead to a tragic loss of life.
Thankfully, no injuries have yet been reported as a result of the Beirut Souks fire. We’ll update this page with more information and footage as it becomes available.