The three hero firefighters who desperately tried to force their way into the doomed warehouse in Beirut to put out the flames can be named by MailOnline today.
Jo Noon, Methal Hawwa, and Najib Hitti were part of a 10-person quick-response team. Nine of them are still missing while their colleague, 25-year-old Sahar Faris, a paramedic specialist, was pronounced dead. She was buried today at an emotional funeral in her hometown of Qaa.
Ms. Faris, who has since been dubbed the "Bride of Beirut" on social media, was engaged to be married next June. Yesterday her fiancé Gilbert Karaan published a tribute: “You are my life. You burned my heart
The three firefighters were photographed in an iconic image that risked their lives to prevent the disaster. One of them, Najib Hitti, didn't even have time to put on his uniform.
You and another colleague, presumably Ms. Faris, were dropped off in an emergency vehicle from the fire station in La Quarantaine in northeast Beirut and were the first to arrive, the fire chiefs told MailOnline.
The six other firefighters followed in a fire truck. "As a fire brigade, we have the authority to open any door without the approval of a ministry or the military," said a fire department official who asked not to be named.
When the smoke first began to gather, we sent a unit of 10 people. Six were in the fire truck and four in the emergency vehicle. The three men in the famous photo were there first and tried to unlock the door to Camp 12.
They were followed by colleagues in the other vehicles. The explosion hit them all. Nine are still missing and one, Sahar Faris, was found and pronounced dead. Her family mourned her yesterday. Your fiancé is devastated. & # 39;
An iconic image depicts the final moments of a firefighters dispatched to tackle a fire in warehouses in Beirut's port, just before the chemicals inside them exploded with the power of a small atomic bomb
Ms. Faris, who was on the Rapid Response team of 10, has since been dubbed the "Bride of Beirut" on social media
Ms. Faris was engaged to be married next June. Yesterday her fiancé Gilbert Karaan published a tribute: "You broke my back, you broke my heart."
Locals have posted pictures on social media of allegedly torn firefighter uniforms on the floor after the explosion
A selfie of eight members of the 10-person team, taken before the tragedy, with Sahar Faris in the center
The ten firefighters who were the first to arrive. All of them are missing, one, Sahar Faris, up in the center, confirmed dead. Top from left to right: Ralf Mallahi, Sarah Faris, Najib Hitti. Center from left to right: Ellie Khuzami, Charbel Hati, Jo Noon, Charbel Karam. Bottom left to right: Jo Bou Saab, Methal Hawwa, Rami Kaaki
The hero Methal Hawwa, front left, poses here with other firefighters in this group photo
Video recorded around the same time shows firefighters on site and heavy gray sliding doors. The Governor of Beirut has confirmed that 10 firefighters are missing after the explosion
A picture of the warehouse taken some time before the explosion shows the same sliding doors and white spots – albeit without writing on them – along with the seemingly exploded chemicals that were stored inside
In a moving online homage to his fiancée, Mr Karaan wrote in Arabic: “We should get married on June 6, 2021. You prepared a furniture purchase for our house that you liked.
“You got promoted too quickly in your job, from paramedic firefighter to national martyr. Your wedding date stays the same. Everything you wanted will be there except for me to look at you in your white dress.
“You broke my back. You are my life, you burned my heart I've lost the will to live since you left. May everyone who took you from me be cursed, may they have broken their hearts.
“You robbed me of your smile and your tenderness. I love you and I will always love you until we meet again and continue our journey together. & # 39;
The tragic photo, which has since gone viral, shows the final moments of firefighters sent to tackle a fire in Camp 12 in Beirut's port before the chemicals stored therein exploded with the power of a small nuclear weapon, killing at least 137 people .
The image, verified by MailOnline, shows Mr. Noon, Mr. Hawwa, and Mr. Hitti trying to open the lock on a door under a sign that reads “Entrance 12,” along with signs warning of hazardous chemicals inside.
The person who took the photo was confirmed dead using the photo found on his phone. Beirut's governor said After the explosion, 10 firefighters who were triggered when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the warehouse caught fire.
The picture became widespread on Arabic-language Twitter accounts on Wednesday as people paid tribute to firefighters believed to have perished.
The fire chief, who sent the team to their death and did not want to be named, told MailOnline: “I can say the same about the entire crew. They were all good people, they were always ready to come first.
What can be said of someone who sacrifices himself for the safety of others? They are all heroes and we owe them our thanks. & # 39;
Details from the picture – such as the heavy gray sliding doors and the white sign with Arabic script – could also be seen in a video taken outside the burning warehouses when a fire, believed to have been started by a welder, struck.
The video shows firefighters in uniforms similar to the one in the photo as they assess the scene without realizing the danger.
Further shots of the roof of a building across the street show identical warehouse buildings being consumed by smoke and flames, as well as similar-looking signs on the warehouse doors.
This footage can be verified as real as it has a large metal support that can be seen in Google Satellite imagery on the roof of a building across from the warehouse.
A photo taken of the warehouse some time ago shows the same gray sliding doors, tall square windows, and white signs, but without any lettering. This photo is also supposed to show sacks filled with ammonium nitrate, which caused the explosion.
The second video also shows other confirmatory details that can be seen in several footage from Beirut such as: B. small explosions of apparently fireworks just before the explosion.
This video also shows the moment the explosion happened, destroyed the warehouse, badly damaged the grain elevators opposite and sent out a shock wave that flattened nearby buildings and blew windows over the city.
2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the burning warehouse exploded shortly after the pictures and footage were taken, leaving little more than a water hole in the ground
The explosion sent out a shock wave that pulverized nearby warehouses (picture), tore the interiors of nearby buildings and blew out panes of glass all over the city
An aerial photo shows the devastation of the port of Beirut from the explosion, which was estimated to cost up to $ 5 billion
The explosion almost completely destroyed the port along with a grain silo (center), which represented an economic lifeline for Lebanon, which was already suffering from an economic crisis
At least 5,000 people were injured in the explosion. 300,000 people were left homeless, causing damage estimated at up to $ 5 billion. Half of the buildings in Beirut were affected.
Lebanon has placed every official responsible for the security of the port of Beirut over the past six years under house arrest as he is investigating a massive explosion that has devastated the city.
The country's political leaders vowed that those responsible for the tragedy would "pay the price," but customs officials dismissed the guilty finger, saying they had been warned repeatedly of the danger but had not acted.
The dangerous cargo is said to have been abandoned by Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin in September 2013 before it was finally taken to the port, where it remained for six years.
A ship with the cargo was arrested on the way from Batumi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia to Mozambique and was never recovered.
On Tuesday evening, a fire started in Camp 9 before it spread to Camp 12, where the chemicals were stored, ignited and caused the explosion.
Raghida Dergham of the Beirut Institute said yesterday: “The storage of ammonium nitrate in a civilian port is a crime against humanity that cannot go unpunished.
& # 39; Convictions are not enough. I am sure but devastated. I lost friends. I lost my apartment. If I had been home I would have lost my life. & # 39;
A view of the destroyed grain silo is visible through a blown window near Beirut's port on Wednesday
Destroyed warehouses can be seen near the port area after a massive explosion in downtown Beirut
Workers remove debris from damaged buildings near an explosion that devastated central Beirut
After a massive explosion in Beirut, people are making their way through the remains of their destroyed office building
An official source familiar with the preliminary investigation blamed the incident for negligence. Lebanese citizens turned their anger on politicians who have overcome decades of state corruption and poor governance and plunged the nation into financial crisis.
Lebanese Customs Director General Badri Wollen said the country's judiciary had been briefed six times about the hazardous chemicals being stored in a warehouse in the Lebanese capital.
It is believed that customs officials asked authorities to remove the hazardous substance from Hangar 12 as they believe it will exist for the city and be handed over to the army or sold to an explosives company.
& # 39; We asked for it to be exported again, but it didn't. We leave it up to the experts and those affected to determine why, ”said Hence.
Another source, close to a port worker, said a team that inspected the ammonium nitrate six months ago warned that it would "blow up all of Beirut" if it was not moved.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed to those responsible "to pay the price" when he declared a two-week state of emergency to deal with the crisis and urged all leaders and "friends of Lebanon" to donate aid to the country, adding added: "We are experiencing a real disaster."
Documents published online suggested they could be handed over to the army or sold to an explosives company, but received no replies, leaving the cargo of explosives languishing in the now devastated port area of the capital.
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical used in fertilizer bombs and is widely used in the construction industry, but also by insurgent groups like the Taliban and the IRA for improvised explosives.
Authorities have cordoned off the port itself, where the explosion left a crater 200 meters in diameter and crushed a large grain silo, the contents of which were emptied into the rubble. It is estimated that around 85 percent of the country's grain was stored there.
Lebanon is heavily dependent on imports and the destruction of the port and the worsening monetary crisis have raised fears of shortages.
Two planeloads of French rescue workers and supplies were sent to Beirut, and Macron was due to arrive on Thursday to aid the former protectorate. The countries remain closely linked politically and economically.
Other countries, including Greece, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey and the European Union, have deployed medical supplies, humanitarian aid and search and rescue teams.
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