Charbel Hitti

“Sacrifice and Loyalty”: This motto is not vain, only those who dare will actually join. Charbel joined the Beirut Fire Department on January 2, 2018, while he was studying Law, hoping this job would help him become more financially stable. He attended trainings in Beirut Fire Brigade and with the Lebanese Army. He was first appointed in Tarik Jdide, where he stayed for around a year, and then he was transferred to Bachoura, but finally settled in Beirut Fire Brigade – Karantina, with his uncle Charbel Karam, and his cousin Najib Hitti. He was nicknamed “Abou Ali” for his strong build and bulging muscles.

Charbel was impulsive. He was always active, enthusiastic and dynamic.  He had volunteered with Qartaba Civil Defense in 2014. In 2006, he also participated in the digging of Darb Salib Trail through Qartaba.

His impulsiveness got to the point of becoming quite risky. He loved off-roading, but maintained balance between his hobbies and education.

On August 4, Charbel was ecstatic. He had just met, along with his coworkers, Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud who delivered the good news that they will become permanent members of the Department. The teammates went back to their posts and took on their duties. Georges, Charbel’s dad, came to visit him, but he was very busy and could not meet with him. On his break, Charbel left to see his friend, and came back around 5:30 PM. Soon after, they received a call about a fire at the Port of Beirut. Firefighters and paramedics on duty responded to the call, and went together on their last journey. Warehouse number 12 exploded at 6:07 PM, and all communication with the firefighting team was lost.

His father rushed to site, looking for his son in the port ruins. As soon as he saw a bloodied young man, he ran to him thinking it was Charbel. Georges was very confused, all he wanted was to find his son alive. He was told by one of the officers that the wounded young man is not Charbel. Georges tried to pull himself together: “That’s true, that’s not Charbel, this young man doesn’t have Theresa’s (Charbel’s sister) tattoo on his arm.”

“My son is green-eyed… Where is he?” Georges’ question remained unanswered for nine long days, on the ninth day he received the call: Charbel’s remains were found…

A month later, Georges received another call, additional remains were found. His son's grave was reopened, and with it the deepest wound was further stirred.