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Live updates: Beirut explosion

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Lebanese soldiers view as a helicopter fights a hearth at the scene of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4. STR/AFP/Getty Photos

Lebanese officers have pointed to a feasible result in of the enormous explosion that tore by way of Beirut: Primary Minister Hassan Diab claimed the devastating blast was induced by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. 

The harmful compound — also recognized as AN — could be traced back again to a massive cargo of agricultural fertilizer that had been stored in the port of Beirut with no protection precautions for years, irrespective of warnings from community officials. 

AN does not melt away, but if exposed to heat, it can soften — which releases flamable harmful gases that can cause an explosion. It truly is even additional unsafe if there is a significant source of AN all saved jointly, due to the fact the moment a compact section of AN commences to soften and explode, the resulting warmth can established off the rest of the source.

Other AN disasters: Just one of the worst disasters in US historical past involving a variety of ammonia transpired in April 1947 when a ship loaded with ammonium nitrate caught fire whilst docked in Texas Metropolis. The fireplace induced an explosion and supplemental fires that weakened far more than 1,000 structures and killed almost 400 people, in accordance to the site of the Texas Historic Association.

For perspective, that explosion was brought on by 2,300 US tons (about 2087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate, in accordance to US Homeland Stability.

And the 1995 Oklahoma Metropolis Bombing, a US domestic terror attack that killed 169 folks and hurt 467, utilized only two US tons (1.8 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate.

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