Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

A fire broke out in a Syrian refugee settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley Sunday, killing at least one person and sending large plumes of black smoke into the sky, the state news agency and the Red Cross said.

Ahmed Salloum, a member of the local emergency services, said the fire turned the tent camp near Qab Elias town into “ashes.” He said firefighters and emergency workers struggled for over two hours to contain the fire that broke out around midday. Temperatures are soaring in Lebanon’s Bekaa region, and Salloum, an electricity technician, said he suspected an overload of power was to blame.

“The settlement has turned to ashes. Even the iron melted,” Salloum said.

Only the bathrooms at the edge of the settlement were left standing. The explosion of gas canisters could be heard from a distance.

George Ketteneh of Lebanon’s Red Cross said initial reports indicate that over 100 tents burned down and one person died.

Ketteneh told The Associated Press that about 97 families, or an estimated 700 persons, live in the informal settlement. He said at least six were wounded.

Lebanon is home to over 1 million registered Syrian refugees, who reside largely in settlements in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, near the border.

The fire comes two days after Lebanese authorities rounded up nearly 400 Syrian refugees following an attack on military troops conducting raids in refugee camps in Arsal, another town near the border with Syria.

The authorities said the raids followed a tip that a terrorist attack was planned out of the camps. But Syrian activists and refugees criticized the raids, saying the mass sweep was excessive and that detainees were abused. The Lebanese military denies the allegations of abuse. (AP)

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Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Smoke rises after fire breaks out due to an unknown reason at the Qob Elias refugee camp at the Beqaa valley in Lebanon on July 1, 2017. (Hasan Jarrah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

A man is treated for smoke inhalation by Red Cross members after a fire tore through a camp for Syrian refugees, near the town of Qab Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, July 2, 2017. (Hassan Abdallah/Reuters)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Smoke rises after fire breaks out due to an unknown reason at the Qob Elias refugee camp at the Beqaa valley in Lebanon on July 1, 2017. (Hasan Jarrah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Smoke rises after fire breaks out due to an unknown reason at the Qob Elias refugee camp at the Beqaa valley in Lebanon on July 1, 2017. (Hasan Jarrah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Syrians refugees look on as a fire rages in a camp for refugees near the village of Qab Elias in the Lebanese Bekaa valley on July 2, 2017.
A massive fire in a camp for Syrian refugees in central Lebanon killed one person and wounded six others, the Red Cross said, adding that hundreds were evacuated. (Hassan Jarrah/AFP/Getty Images)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Civil defence members put out fire at a camp for Syrian refugees near the town of Qab Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, July 2, 2017. (Hassan Abdallah/Reuters)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

A man moves gas canisters after a fire tore through a camp for Syrian refugees, near the town of Qab Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, July 2, 2017. (Hassan Abdallah/Reuters)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Smoke billows as Syrians refugees attempt to extinguish a massive fire in a camp for refugees near the village of Qab Elias in the Lebanese Bekaa valley on July 2, 2017.
A massive fire in a camp for Syrian refugees in central Lebanon killed one person and wounded six others, the Red Cross said, adding that hundreds were evacuated. (Hassan Jarrah/AFP/Getty Images)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Lebanese firefighters inspect the damage caused by a massive fire in a camp for Syrian refugees near the village of Qab Elias in the Lebanese Bekaa valley on July 2, 2017.
A massive fire in a camp for Syrian refugees in central Lebanon killed one person and wounded six others, the Red Cross said, adding that hundreds were evacuated. (Hassan Jarrah/AFP/Getty Images)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Firefighters put out fire at a camp for Syrian refugees near the town of Qab Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, July 2, 2017. (Hassan Abdallah/Reuters)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Syrian refugees gather outside their camp after a fire tore through it, near the town of Qab Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, July 2, 2017. (Hassan Abdallah/Reuters)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

This photo provided by the Qab Elias Emergency Services, shows Lebanese Civil Defense workers putting out a fire in a Syrian refugee camp in Qab Elias, a village in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon in Qab Elias, Lebanon, Sunday, July 2, 2017. Lebanon’s state news agency and the Red Cross say a major fire has broken out in a Syrian refugee settlement, killing at least one person and sending large plumes of black smoke into the sky. (Qab Elias Emergency Services via AP)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

This photo provided by the Qab Elias Emergency Services, shows Lebanese Civil Defense workers putting out a fire in a Syrian refugee camp in Qab Elias, a village in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon in Qab Elias, Lebanon, Sunday, July 2, 2017. Lebanon’s state news agency and the Red Cross say a major fire has broken out in a Syrian refugee settlement, killing at least one person and sending large plumes of black smoke into the sky. (Qab Elias Emergency Services via AP)

Fire rips through Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon

Civil defence members and civilians put out fire at a camp for Syrian refugees near the town of Qab Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, July 2, 2017. (Hassan Abdallah/Reuters)