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Beirut Explosion, so what was it?

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
Rest in pieces more like it...

Standing there with a phone in front of your face filming a warehouse of explosives for social media fame is dangerous huh?

Who knew right?
 
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said that it is "unacceptable" that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures and vowed that those responsible... blah, blah, yeah... whatever!

If he thinks 2¾ kilotons of badly-stored, potentially explosive fertiliser is 'unacceptable' then I'd hate to think what he qualifies as '******* outrageous'!
 
Rest in pieces more like it...

Standing there with a phone in front of your face filming a warehouse of explosives for social media fame is dangerous huh?

Who knew right?

Given the timescale I think he was rubber ducked either way.
 

Yokel

LE
I thought that Ammonium Nitrate tended to absorb moisture, therefore ANFO based IEDs could not be placed long before the intended detonation time, however the Nitrate had been there for years. Presumably the warehouse was dry enough to stop water ingress?

Poor bastards. RIP.

If it has destroyed the port, what are the long term consequences?
 
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I’m currently working on a project in Lebanon but because of COVID I’m working remotely. Thank Christ as this bit of the port isn’t very far from many of the various embassies and ministries, or the hotel I normally stay in. The Swedish and Dutch embassies are quite close to the port, for example.

During my visits there over the years, I’ve learned that the government is a patchwork quilt with various ministries shared between different factions.

My UN source (who works quite closely with the Army) said the stuff was confiscated. It’s not hard to imagine that once it was taken off the ship it sat there because none of the ministries could agree what to do with it.
 
Which is pretty much Omri Ceren's analysis.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
I was living about 2 1/2 miles away from Buncefield when that went up - fortunately with a hill between me and it. Got woken up by the first explosion and though my windows were coming in after the follow up ones. My immediate response was an aircraft from Luton airport had crashed in the village I lived in, so I stuck my head out of the windows and couldn't see anything. Then saw the flames coming from behind the hill.

I'd promised a friend of mine a pub lunch at a gastro-pub she wanted to visit close to Reading, so I picked her up and drove her down there. My abiding memory is of the smoke pall overhead - we were pretty much downwind of Buncefield and 30+ miles away.

Buncefield burned for about 4 days. The M1 runs about a mile away and the police had a field day arresting drivers who stopped on the hard shoulder to rubberneck the fires. They were a hell of a sight - at their peak the flames were going up about 400 feet.

There is an industrial estate about 1/2 mile away from Buncefield. This is what is now the Amazon warehouse. This is actually the side of the warehouse facing away from the fuel depot.

1596580657910.png


The rest of the estate looked like the aftermath of a WW2 bombing raid and they demolished several buildings because they were beyond economical repair.

From memory, the Buncefield explosion(s) were the equivalent of about 400 tons of TNT - it was a massive fuel air explosion. But probably only a fifth of the force of the Beirut explosion.

Wordsmith
 

Hippohunter

Old-Salt
What it actually was we will probably never know and certainly never agree on, but one thing is for certain, it was NOT a ship load of fireworks. The shock wave points to military grade explosives.
 

AfricaExpat

Old-Salt
From memory, the Buncefield explosion(s) were the equivalent of about 400 tons of TNT - it was a massive fuel air explosion. But probably only a fifth of the force of the Beirut explosion.

Wordsmith
Thank heavens it was early hours Sunday I think. Would have been possibly hundreds dead if during the week.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Thank heavens it was early hours Sunday I think. Would have been possibly hundreds dead if during the week.

Yeah - there were about 10 office building/factories paralleling the perimeter fence of the depot. The glass was blown out of all the windows and the false ceilings inside collapsed, tangling the offices in a mess of ceiling tiles, wiring and light fittings. There would have been heavy casualties from flying glass, and difficulty getting the victims out.

I think there were a half dozen people in the depot, mainly filling petrol tankers or drivers. They saw white vapour streaming out of a tank and ran like f***. They'd got a few hundred yards away when it all went up.

The fire service didn't know what grade of fuel was in many of the tanks, because the only set of information was in paper records stored on site - and that went up in the fire. Genius...

Wordsmith
 
What it actually was we will probably never know and certainly never agree on, but one thing is for certain, it was NOT a ship load of fireworks. The shock wave points to military grade explosives.

I have to disagree. There was a lot of material "exploding" but it wasn't military grade.
 
This video captures a better view of the aftermath from a local high rise. ..and not a single pane of glass was seen. Normaly these types of vids have a soundtrack of the person filming the event just muttering "Allahu akbar" but the devestation is so great and shock has got to the cameraman and he's forgotten that this bang happened because God wills it ..
 
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