By Marwa Mahmoud
On Tuesday, a fire broke out in a building in the souk area of Beirut, designed by the famous U.K.-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, as it underwent repairs caused by the devastating blast of Aug. 4.
Cell phone video shows flames lapping on the side of the building, and rubble can be seen falling to the ground.
An eye witness said that “the fire was large, but firefighters were quick to respond and were able to bring it under control, preventing it from spreading further.”
He added, the fire was mostly on the exterior of the building which has materials made from “fiberglass and resin, and compressed.”
The reason behind the fire is still unknown
The affected building was designed by architect Zaha Hadid
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.
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, said
“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.”
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.