Local Family’s Home Damaged In Massive Beirut Explosion

Aug 5, 2020, 11:27 PM | Updated: 11:28 pm
BEIRUT, LEBANON - AUGUST 05: An aerial view of ruined structures at the port, damaged by an explosi...
BEIRUT, LEBANON - AUGUST 05: An aerial view of ruined structures at the port, damaged by an explosion a day earlier, on August 5, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. As of Wednesday, more than 100 people were confirmed dead, with thousands injured, when an explosion rocked the Lebanese capital. Officials said a waterfront warehouse storing explosive materials, reportedly 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate, was the cause of the blast. (Photo by Haytham El Achkar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Haytham El Achkar/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah family’s home was damaged in the explosion that killed at least 135 people and injured thousands more in Beirut, Lebanon.

“It’s a lovely part of the world,” said Salah Lababidi, who was born in the capital city. “As much as we love Utah, we always feel a very strong affinity for Lebanon.”

Lababidi met his wife Veronica Boertee in Beirut and his parents live there. The couple also has a home there and lives there part-time.

They were devastated to see what’s become of it over the last year since they’ve been in Utah.

“These people have endured so much hardship over the years. So much suffering,” Lababidi said.

The country was already hurting from political turmoil, a banking crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Then on Tuesday, the world watched in horror online as a massive explosion destroyed buildings, killed many and injured thousands.

“That was devastating enough,” Lababidi said. “This is completely unexpected. Adding to the misery that already existed.”

“Streets that I would go to almost daily that are just rubble right now,” Boertee said. “It’s hard. A lot of times you just want to stop and cry, and you think it’s a bad dream.”

Their home is one of the countless damaged in the blast. Video shows shattered windows, turned over and broken furniture.

“It’s unlivable so we don’t know when we can go back,” Boertee said.

DEVASTATING: These satellite images show the site of yesterday's explosion in Beirut before and after. Lebanon leaders…

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

She said their home was about a half-kilometer away from the port, where a warehouse had reportedly been holding 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for six years, despite repeated warnings by customs officials to dispose of it.

The irresponsibility of the authorities to allow something so dangerous to be in such proximity of a high number of civilians is unacceptable. Really unacceptable,” Lababidi said.

“It’s been a hard year,” Boertee said. “It’s been hard to watch everything this year, but this is the final blow. It can’t get worst.”

For their family, Beirut will always be one of their homes. And they’re hopeful the people will be able to rebuild soon.

“The Lebanese are extremely resilient,” Lababidi said. “I have no doubt within a couple days everyone will just bring out their brooms and their paints and they’ll just get to work to fix it up again.”

KSL 5 TV Live

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Local Family’s Home Damaged In Massive Beirut Explosion