On September 10th, a massive fire erupted in the duty-free area of the Port of Beirut, causing material damage and distress among civilians. 6 days later, a company has been charged with negligence in relation to the fire.
Beirut’s State Prosecutor for Appeals Judge Ziad Abu Haidar charged Business Bay International SAL Offshore and its director, Akram El-Kheshen, with negligence.
El-Kheshen and 3 other people: Raed Nasr, Mahmoud Al-Khatib, and Mohammed Idlibi, were charged with several additional violations.
The suspects “committed negligence and a lack of precaution that caused a fire in the port, destroyed public and private property, polluted the environment, and created panic among citizens,” according to Judge Abu Haidar.
Abu Haidar referred the suspects to the first investigative judge for questioning, requesting that the necessary arrest warrants be issued to allow further investigation into this case.
Business Bay International is an offshore firm in Lebanon specialized in Indoor Air Quality Consultancy and environmental solutions, and which members and experts are part of international associations such as IAC2, InterNACHI, GREEN Buildings, and IAQA.
The fire that took place on Thursday afternoon spread panic and fear among the residents of Beirut, who had, just around a month prior, emerged from a deadly explosion that caused nearly 200 dead and thousands injured and displaced.
The head of Beirut Bar Association, Melhem Khalaf, urged investigative Judge Fadi Sawan to consider that the fires could have compromised evidence vital to the investigation of the August 4 explosion and to investigate them accordingly.
On that note, the investigation into the Beirut Port explosion has yet to deliver a verdict. Over 2 dozen suspects have been detained in relation to the blast and the fire that caused it on August 4.
Nevertheless, welding work seems to allegedly be the direct cause of the fire itself.
Strangely enough, it was also said to be the cause of the September 10 fire and the more recent one that erupted in a landmark building in Beirut Souks, and a fire that erupted in the industrial area by Al-Madina Al-Riyadiyeh (the sports city) in Beirut.