Joseph Latif Merhi
Joseph grew up with his mother and six siblings, Raymond, Jean Pierre, Samia, Katia, Sam, and Carlos. He married his wife Jinan in 2003, and had four daughters, Christelle (16), Gaelle (14), Eliane (12), and Laeticia (5).
Young Joseph attended a technical institute in Ajaltoun. During the Lebanese civil war, he dropped out of school before he could his degree, and joined the workforce at an early age. He worked different jobs before settling as a firefighter at the Port of Beirut, in 1997. Later, he became a security officer at the Security and Safety Department at the port. He was recently promoted to security team leader at the same department, in 2018.
Joseph was kind and generous. He was a dedicated employee. Before his passing, he made his dream come true, and bought a small house in his home town where he was spent the hot summer months. On the day of the explosion, he received a text message at 2:00 AM, saying one of his team members will not be on duty at the port. He left his house at 5:30 AM, on his last journey. He called his wife upon his arrival to work, and was busy for the remainder of the day. Jinan called him around 5:07 PM, he told her he was at the fire station with other co-workers.
Her neighbours called to ask her about Joseph's whereabouts after the fire erupted at warehouse number 12. She called him again at 6:17 PM, but he didn’t answer the phone. After a few nerve-wracking hours, she learned that he was evacuated to a hospital in Beirut. His brother Wissam looked for him, but he could not find him in any hospital across Lebanon. It was later confirmed that he died on site.
At 3:00 AM, Jinan received a call telling her Joseph was still alive, and is being operated on at Hotel Dieu Hospital, but it was actually a name mix up between him and his co-worker Mohamed Abbas.
At 6:45 AM, on August 5, 2020, the family received a call confirming Joseph died immediately after the blast. The coroner's report mentioned that his body did not suffer any disfigurement; he sustained a strong blow to the back caused by the explosion that sent his body flying off the ground, instantly killing him. Joseph left our world, but his daughters will always remember his words "may God be gracious and bring his blessings upon us".