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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Update on Haifa fire

I want to update you on what's been going on with the forest fire in northern Haifa.
As the fires raged, 40 prison wardens en route to the Damon Prison burned to death in a bus caught up in the blaze .

The wardens were meant to assist in evacuating some 500 prisoners from the facility, situated near Kibbutz Beit Oren. Their vehicle was engulfed in fast moving flames which had spread to the narrow mountain road linking Atlit to Kibbutz Bet Oren.

A firefighter spokesman said the blaze had traveled 1500 meters in less than three minutes, adding, "the bus had no chance. They tried to escape but were burned alive. It was a horrific scene."

The spokesman added that the fire was very far from the road on which the bus was traveling when it first set off towards the prison, but had spread far faster than expected.


Kibbutz Bet Oren was reported to have been largely destroyed by the flames, after it was evacuated.

The head of the Haifa Police, Dep.-Cmdr. Ahuva Tomer, was critically injured in the fire and she was evacuated to the Rambam Medical Center and was being treated for severe burns.

Fire and Rescue Commissioner Shimon Romach added that the firefighting operation would be limited to ground forces after sunset, since fire planes cannot be used at night. "I don't think we will get control of this tonight," he added.
Here's a report on the fire from the evening news earlier tonight. Curiously, they say the cause was burning at a pirate dump and they don't mention arson (hard to believe given the earlier report of the fire starting in four places).

Let's go to the videotape.

Here's a night-time video of the fire, which is still burning out of control. I stopped in a kiosk with a big-screen television on my way home tonight, and it looked like Lag BaOmer (a holiday on which bonfires are lit but not like this one) out there.

Let's go to the videotape and you'll get a flavor.

Our biggest problem is a shortage of equipment and we are getting equipment during the night from a long list of countries from as far away as Russia and England to as close by as Cyprus, Egypt and Jordan. Even Turkey is sending equipment. But the fire will not be brought under control tonight. The forces fighting the fire are using bulldozers to dig trenches to keep it from spreading, but it cannot be put out without the equipment that is arriving from abroad on Friday morning.

The failure of the mass evacuation in the Haifa area today has serious implications for our war footing as well.

More when I have it.


Haaretz adds (Hat Tip: Memeorandum):
The 40 individuals who died were students in the Prison Service's prison guard course who were being brought to the Damon Prison to aid in evacuating the prisoners there.

According to an initial investigation of the events, a tree fell down in the middle of the road the bus was taking, trapping the bus between the flames. As a result, 40 of the 50 prison guards who were on the bus died from the flames. Seven individuals were evacuated from the scene in serious condition and transferred to Haifa hospitals.

Head of the Haifa Police Department, Deputy Commander Ahuva Tomer was critically injured as a result of the huge brushfire in the Carmel region.
Over 12,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.

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At 6:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

How about Baha'i Gardens.. Them are in danger?

At 6:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

How about Baha'i Gardens.. Them are in danger? adyculi@yahoo.com


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