SIDON, Lebanon: A Civil Defense maritime rescue unit was stymied by powerful waves Friday as it joined efforts to put out a huge fire that broke out in Sidon’s landfill Thursday and has paralyzed the city.
The unit, comprising two rescue boats equipped with water hoses, proved unable to reach the site of the fire that broke out in the western sector of the city's four-decade-old waste dump, which lies on the southern outskirts of the city.
A Civil Defense source told The Daily Thursday that it may require at least 48 hours to extinguish the fire, given its size.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Civil Defense teams and the Sidon Fire Department had drawn up a plan to put out the fire, which broke out at 4 a.m. Thursday.
A thick blanket of smoke and haze settled over the city and surrounding areas, reaching the east of the city and the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh.
Smoke hung over parts of Sidon all day while wind pushed the garbage cloud toward the city and reduced visibility on the main highway.
The fire, the fourth in less than a month in Sidon, prompted nearby hospitals to urge firefighters to boost their efforts, as the industrial sector of the city shut down.
Police have yet to launch a probe to determine the circumstances behind all of the fires.
The landfill, which has been used as a site for the disposal of garbage for years, measures about 30 meters in height, and reportedly contains about 500,000 bottles.