UPDATE: The explosion is believed to have taken place in a hanout (shop) in Derb Bab El Hamra. The place was a gas depot for bottled gas. Reports say that all the stock was destroyed. There is still no word on injuries.
Shortly after 11.15 this morning a huge explosion was heard across the Medina of Fez. It was followed by a lot of smaller explosions. With Morocco on a high terror alert following events in Tunisia, people's first reactions were understandable concern over the cause of the incident. The smaller explosions sounded to many people in the area like gunshots. Happily this does not appear to have been the case.
Several other large explosions may well have been gas cylinders exploding.
It is not known if anyone was hurt in the explosion but given the extent of the conflagration it would be a miracle if nobody was injured.
The explosion is thought to be in the Bab Ftouh area. Security and rescue officers were on the seen within fifteen minutes. Flames were seen to the right of the giant clouds of black smoke billowing up into the sky.
|Flames can be seen lower right of the smoke|
We will update this post as more information comes to hand.
|There appeared to be two major fires producing two plumes of smoke.|
By 12.15 the fire to the right appeared to being brought under control but a wind of around 20km per hour from the NW had sprung up and was obviously fanning the fire. Temperatures in Fez at the moment are around 35 Celsius which will make fighting the fires difficult. There is also the added problem of a suitable water supply.
|12:15 and smoke was casting a pall over parts of the Medina|