On August 4, 2020, Beirut was rocked by a massive explosion which ended up costing more than 200 people their lives, leaving 7,500 injured and some 300,000 homeless.
It also caused roughly $15 billion in property damage, including this Audi dealership which stored dozens of models on a rooftop lot, exposed to the elements – which in this case meant the equivalent of 1.1 kilotons of TNT going off in the distance.
The explosion itself took place “courtesy” of a large amount of ammonium nitrate (2,750 tonnes) stored at the city’s port. However, the exact cause of the detonation is under investigation even today.
“The real problem is that over time it [ammonium nitrate] will absorb little bits of moisture and it eventually turns into an enormous rock,” said chemistry professor Andrea Sella during an interview with the BBC. Unfortunately, the substance had been left there for a long time (six years) and would have been very susceptible to a fire, like the one that preceded the blast.
In any case, the Audi dealer seems to have been located relatively close to the port. The damage sustained by those cars is extensive, and you can see how many of them have bent roofs and of course, broken windows.
As for the models involved, we’re seeing everything from A3 sedans, A4, A5, A6 and even the flagship A8. Not seeing any crossovers though, but it’s not like they would have been spared. Hopefully the dealer also had underground storage.