BEIRUT: A plastic factory owned by Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud went up in flames Sunday night, forcing the minister to leave the jury panel of the Miss Lebanon contest.
No injuries were reported from the fire at the five-story factory in the Metn region of Mazraat Yachouh, which was still raging Monday morning.
Sources told The Daily Star that the Lebanese Civil Defense dispatched fire departments from across the country to fight the blaze when it broke out around midnight.
Abboud was on the panel judging the Miss Lebanon beauty contest at the time, and withdrew when news of the fire reached him, the sources said.
In his comments to Al-Markazia Monday, Abboud said that the incident was caused by a fire started in the UPS room and which could not be put out by using internal fire extinguishers, which prompted the factory’s employees to ask for the help of the civil defense. “We thank the civil defense for risking their lives for the sake of putting out the fire,” he said.
However, the minister expressed his disappointment over the fact that Lebanese civil defense is in great need of advanced equipment and training for them to succeed in their job.
“They also need to work under the supervision of a leader who properly allocates their tasks,” he said.
Abboud could not give any comments to The Daily Star about the volume of losses caused by the incident.
“I really cannot comment for now, I am devastated,” he said.
Civil Defense official George Abu Musa told The Daily Star via telephone from the scene Monday morning that fire squads had managed to distinguish parts of the fire.
“Crews are still battling to put out the fire,” Abu Musa said.
Industry Minister Vreij Sabounjian commented by saying that any such incident tends to negatively impact the national economy. “The industry sector contributes to attracting investments to the country and creating job opportunities. Hence, any such incident is bad for our economy.”