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Fort Myers woman has personal connection to Beirut

WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko investigated bombings and explosions like the one that happened Tuesday in Beirut when he was an FBI agent.

He said that for those who remember the devastation of the Oklahoma City bombing, the bombers there used about 12,000 lbs. of ammonium nitrate, and if the numbers out of Lebanon are correct, more than 5 million lbs. exploded in Beirut. At last report, at least 130 people were killed and more than 5,000 wounded as the blast rippled through the city.

Kolko spoke with a WINK News producer who has a personal connection to Lebanon. Nadine Armoush’s family is from Beirut and often spends summer there.

“I was in Beirut three years ago, this time, actually, this day,” Armoush said.

Her family told her that what we’re seeing on TV doesn’t begin to truly show the damage done.

“I don’t even know how to say it. It’s literally … you can’t describe it, none of the videos do it justice.”

From what she has heard, “some have lost everything. Some people’s homes, including my parents’ house, it’s devastation.”

Lebanon has a tough road ahead.

“I don’t think it’s going to be easy to rebuild. The destruction that happened there, it’s more than 10 years, if that,” Armoush said.

In addition to the difficult rebuild the people of Lebanon face, there’s the investigation into how the explosion happened. Kolko said it looks as though the head of customs in Lebanon has been asking for years to have the ammonium nitrate moved from the port, but he may have been ignored.

Meanwhile, the government has ordered Beirut port officials to be put under house arrest.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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