Firefighter Gives Testimony at Third STL Hearing Session, Says Crater Split Hariri Convoy in Half

W300
Timeline
The hearing session has been adjourned to 11:30 am on Tuesday. over 5 years
Toubaili: This explosion, was different, event though I have experienced many cases of fires. The only blast I still remember so strongly, it was awful, it was huge. over 5 years
Toubaili: We could extinguish fire easily in people's vehicle but not in those of the convoy. The fuel tanks were explosions in our faces. We extinguished fire with water and every time we extinguish a fire, it would ignite again. We used large quantities of foam to finally be able to put the fire off. over 5 years
Toubaili: We were not the ones that retrieved Hariri's body. It could have been the Red Cross or the Defense Forces. over 5 years
Toubaili: The vehicles that were burned were not all part of Hariri's convoy, but many belonged to employees in the area. The cars that were completely burned were the ones that were part of the convoy. I repeat, back then, I did not know the explosion targeted Hariri. And therefore, throughout the rescuing operation, I was not aware of the reason of the explosion. But when I was inside the Byblos building, a firefighter came up and informed me about it. over 5 years
Toubaili referred to the model to detail on the rescuing operation. over 5 years
Toubaili: On the first floor three rooms were on fire and there were no employees. On the second floor one room only was on fire and we transferred the wounded to the hospital. over 5 years
Toubaili: When I saw the fire in the Byblos building I went personally inside the building to rescue people who might have been trapped. We extinguished the fire on the first floor and then headed to the second floor. over 5 years
Toubaili referred to the post-blast model to show the road he took to arrive to the scene of the explosion. over 5 years
Toubaili: We went through the rubble towards Phoenicia hotel and then to St George. over 5 years
Toubaili: I did not pass by the Franjieh tunnel at all. over 5 years
Judge Akoum: Can you tell us what road you took exactly? over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: At the time of the explosion, the convoy was separated and divided into two parts, one after the crater, and one before it. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: At the blast site, no one would have been able to move towards the blast's location. over 5 years
A footage of the crime scene on the day of the explosion is being shown at the hearing session. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: I divided the team into two groups. I sent one group to the St. George hotel, and the second to the Byblos building. At that time I did not know the blast targeted the convoy of ex-PM Rafik Hariri. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: Due to the proximity of the Bashura sector to the scene of the explosion, they were the first to arrive. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: The team took several wounded people to the AUBMC. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: We were 10-15 meters away when we couldn't advance towards the scene of the explosion because of the rubble. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: The sea was on my right and the hotel area was to my left as we were approaching the explosion scene. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: After reaching the Four seasons area, the trucks were not able to move towards the explosion scene because of the shattered glass, because of the destruction. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: The shattered glass was seen at first in the Riad Solh Square. What I saw was not an ordinary view, we saw columns of fire and smoke everywhere. All I could do is ask for reinforcement by calling the operation room I asked for all trucks available in the 3 sectors of the Beirut fire department. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: We reached the Riad Solh area. Then we took a maritime road. We could see shattered glass everywhere on the streets before reaching the scene of the explosion. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: The scene of the explosion is 300-500 meters away from the Four Seasons hotel area. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: In addition to the fire trucks, the third vehicle is always an ambulance. We do not go to any scene without an ambulance, in case there were wounded people or in case a firefighter was injured on duty. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: The second sector, the Bashura sector, was in charge of the area where the explosion took place. I was on duty there. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: There are three sections in the Beirut Fire Department. Each sector is in charge of a certain area and there is no overlapping. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: When we arrive, all we could see was shattered glass, everything on the street. We continued our route until we reached the place of the explosion. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili: I was on duty with my colleagues on February 14 2005, and we heard an explosion. I didn't wait for anyone to notify me and without hesitation we rushed to the crime scene and we followed the area where the smoke was coming from. over 5 years
Witness Toubaili, a fireman, is giving his testimony. over 5 years
Judge David Re: Witness 427 will come forward with his testimony and will share the details of how he was able to identify the body of his relative. over 5 years
Judge David Re: The trial chamber is convinced that the procedures adopted to protect witnesses do not harm the rights of the suspects. over 5 years
STL Trial Chamber Presiding Judge David Re: In case any media outlet was able to acquire the name of the witness, they are forbidden from sharing it. over 5 years

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon resumed on Monday its hearing sessions in The Hague, as Khaled Toubaili, a firefighter that was involved in the rescuing operations on February 14, 2005, gave his testimony.

Toubaili, a firefighter at the Bashura sector in the Beirut Fire Department, recounted the events he experienced on the day of former premier Rafik Hariri's assassination.

"I was on duty with my colleagues on February 14 2005, and we heard an explosion. I didn't wait for anyone to notify me and without hesitation we rushed to the crime scene,” he said at the beginning of his testimony, noting that they had followed the smoke to locate the explosion site.

He explained that there are three sectors in the Beirut Fire Department.

“Each sector is in charge of a certain area and there is no overlapping between their work. The second sector, the Bashura (neighborhood) sector, takes charge of the area where the explosion took place. I was on duty there.”

“In addition to the fire trucks, the third vehicle accompanying us is always an ambulance. We do not go to any scene without an ambulance, in case there were wounded people or in case a firefighter was injured on duty.”

Toubaili elaborated on the road the firefighters took to reach the scene of the explosion.

“We reached the Riad Solh area and then we took a maritime road, arriving to the location of the Four Seasons Hotel,” he said.

He noted: “When we arrived, all we could see was shattered glass, everything was on the streets and the glass was first seen near the Riad Solh Square. And after reaching the Four seasons area, the trucks were not able to move towards the explosion scene because of the rubble and the destruction.”

“What I saw was not an ordinary view, we saw columns of fire and smoke everywhere.”

Toubaili said all he could do at the time was to ask for reinforcement by calling the operation room.

“I asked for sending all trucks available in the three sectors of the Beirut fire department,” he stated.

He detailed: “I divided the team into two groups. I sent one group to the St. George hotel, and the second to the Byblos building.”

He said he rushed to the Byblos building to extinguish the fire that had erupted there.

“When I saw the fire in the Byblos building I went personally inside the premises to rescue people who might have been trapped there. We extinguished the fire on the first floor and then headed to the second floor. On the first floor three rooms were torched but there were no employees trapped. On the second floor one room only was on fire and we transferred the wounded to the hospital.”

He said his team took charge of transferring several wounded to the American University of Beirut - Medical Center.

Toubaili revealed that at that time, he had no idea the blast had targeted Hariri.

“And therefore, throughout the rescuing operation, I was not aware of the reason of the explosion. But when I was inside the Byblos building, a firefighter came up to me and informed me about it,” he announced.

The firefighter said the vehicles that were burned in the area were not all part of Hariri's convoy, but many belonged to employees in neighboring companies.

But the cars that were completely burned were the ones that were part of the convoy, he added, pointing out that due to the explosion, the convoy was separated and divided into two parts, one in front of the crater, and one behind it.

“We could extinguish fire easily in people's vehicle but not in those of the convoy. The fuel tanks were exploding in our faces. We extinguished fire with water and every time we put off a blaze, it would ignite again. We used large quantities of foam to finally be able to extinguish the blaze.”

He mentioned that the Fire Department was not the party in charge of retrieving Hariri's body.

“It could have been the Red Cross or the Defense Forces that took charge of this mission,” he said.

During his testimony, Toubaili referred several times to the post-blast model at the court to detail on the road his forces took, and to the sites where he performed the rescuing operations.

The hearing session was adjourned to Tuesday at 11:30 am.

SourceNaharnet
Comments 7
Thumb primesuspect over 5 years

Very sad story.

Thumb general_puppet over 5 years

Yes josephani, welcome back… how is Assad doing? … your comment is a bit cryptic, can you please translate.

Default-user-icon setright (Guest) over 5 years

God bless you for the noble effort, don't do it again though, just donate.

Thumb general_puppet over 5 years

Yes it is truly a shame that all those 10's of thousands of hours that flimflam spends writing comments have been flushed down the tube. Did they keep any of your spirit lifting comments were you insult peoples mothers?

"always a pleasure to be on the side of truth and justice."… truth and justice, Assad style you mean :-))))))))))

Thumb shab over 5 years

Very detailed model. The firefighter acted professionally.

Default-user-icon Lombasto Kijamaj (Guest) over 5 years

As to the real evidence, well, there is plenty of time for the farce to come to its expected hilarious close.

Default-user-icon setright (Guest) over 5 years

More boring anecdotes that are hardly incriminating anyone. This trial is really sad, so much invested with so little results.