‘Hiroshima of the Middle East’: 70 killed in Beirut, thousands injured in massive explosion

Improperly stored ammonium nitrate could be to blame

TROY, Mich. – The death toll in Beirut has surpassed 70 dead on Tuesday night, with thousands more injured in a massive explosion that sent a mushroom cloud into the sky.

The blast in the Lebanese capital has left at least 3,000 injured. It was so powerful, it struck with the force of at 3.5 magnitude earthquake with the detonation heard 200 miles away and in at least two other countries.

READ: Videos and photos emerging on social media of Beirut explosion

Local authorities believe a large amount of ammonium nitrate improperly stored in a warehouse at the port is to blame.

Nour Danno is a Beirut native who lives in Troy. She watched from a distance as part of her home literally crumbled to the ground.

“They’re calling it the Hiroshima of the Middle East,” Danno said. “Glass everywhere, cars damaged. A lot of people died. We’re talking here about 3,000 injured and at least 80 people died. And there’s a lot of people they’re still looking for buried under rubble.”

PHOTOS: Beirut explosion leaves behind unspeakable damage

Danno couldn’t help but worry about all of her family members back home. For a long time, she wasn’t able to contact them because cellular and internet service was knocked out by the explosion. Eventually, she was able to connect with her loved ones.

“It took me awhile to get a hold of my family. But thank God, they’re OK. But we know a lot of people who got injured and we know some people who died,” she said.

Danno said she’s keeping the country in her prayers. She said she’s worried about the well being of the country, especially knowing where their economy is right now.

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