Ghassan Hasrouty wasn’t supposed to be working at Beirut’s port on Tuesday, 4th August 2020.
He’d swapped shifts to allow him to attend an upcoming weekend trip with his wife and children.
A senior manager, Ghassan had worked at the port for 38-years. He knew its rhythms well and anticipating that he may have to work through the night, he called home and asked for someone bring him a pillow and blanket.
Around the same time Zein Ja’Far, Sky News' Middle East News Editor based in Beirut, was working from his apartment, less than half a mile away when he noticed smoke coming from the port.
A fire was about ignite thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored near Ghassan's workplace. The lives of the Hasrouty family, and Beirut’s two million residents were about to be changed forever.
In 2021, Sky News is marking some of the century’s biggest news events through the personal stories of lives defined by unforgettable moments from the last 21-years.
Episode 12 of the 21-part series is The Beirut Blast: Ghassan’s story.
*StoryCast '21 returns in September 2021, with an extended episode to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
The Beirut Blast: Ghassan’s story was written and produced by Rob Mulhern with Zein Ja’Far.
Special thanks to Eli and Tatiana Hasrouty
Research and Digital by Tom Gillespie
Presented by Jayne Secker
Sound Design, Rob Mulhern
TV treatment, Victoria Hudson-Grant
Head of Radio, Sky News, Dave Terris
Design and graphics, Brian Gillingham
Social media, Chris Scott
Press and Marketing, Alexandra Horton
For more on this story log on to www.skynews/storycast21