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Beirut FF-paramedic killed in blast laid to rest, 9 other FFs presumed dead

A funeral was held for Beirut Fire Brigade Paramedic Sahar Fares, 24, on Thursday; Beirut’s governor said nine other firefighters were killed


By Laura French

LEBANON — A Lebanese firefighter-paramedic whose body was recovered after the massive blast in Beirut that killed at least 145 people and injured at least 5,000 was laid to rest on Thursday.

Beirut Fire Brigade Paramedic Sahar Fares, 24, who was engaged to be married, was honored with a joint funeral and wedding celebration two days after the explosion, which occurred as she and nine other firefighters were on the scene of a warehouse fire, according to the New York Times.

Fares’ body was recovered by another firefighter as search teams worked to find survivors for 24 hours after the blast, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, the other nine firefighters remained missing, but Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud has said that all 10 who were at the scene were killed, according to the Washington Post.

Video posted on social media shows the firefighters standing outside the warehouse shortly before the explosion, according to the Washington Post. The footage shows smoke coming out of the structure.

Fares’ fiancé, Gilbert Karaan, said Fares called him while outside the warehouse and showed him video of the smoke and what appeared to be fireworks igniting, saying the sounds coming from the warehouse were unusual, according to the New York Times. Karaan asked Fares to seek cover and saw her running away before the explosion.

Lebanese citizens have expressed anger after the explosion, which officials say was caused by the detonation of a large cache of ammonium nitrate, questioning why dangerous materials were allowed to be stored by the Port of Beirut despite previous warnings about the safety risk.

Bachir Mattar, the mayor of Al Qaa, where Fares was born, said the paramedic was a “martyr” of the government’s failings, according to the New York Times.