Friday, December 3, 2010

UPDATED! 40 Dead, Dozens Wounded, With A Hint Of Arson Too Boot!


For most in Israel Chanukah is a time of joy with games, presents, good food and fun.  But for 40 families, there will be no joyful Chanukah this year.
Dozens of security personnel, many from the Israel Prisons Service, perished in the fire that has been raging on the Carmel Mountain since Thursday morning. Twenty two people were confirmed dead by 7:00 PM Thursday and 14 more bodies were reported found shortly after 10:00 PM. The total number of dead is estimated at 40.

36 out of the 40 victims were IPS cadets, most of them Druze, who were in their 20's. They were being transported on a bus after assisting in the evacuation of the Damon Prison. At a certain point the fire began spreading at great speed – covering a mile in five minutes, according to a firefighting officer – and the bus was caught in the flames with no chance of getting out.

The names of seven of the cadets were released early on Friday morning:

* Topaz Even Chen Klein (29) from Rechovot
* Maor Ganon (29) from Gan Yavne
* Kfit Ohana (30) from Ofakim
* Siyum Tzagi (31) from Netivot
* Yakir Swissa (28) from Dimona
* Hagai Jorno (28) from Kiryat Gat
* Oshrat Pinto (26) from Tzfat

Their funerals will take place on Friday.

Two policemen, a volunteer firefighter and another man were killed in the blaze as well. Among the people who were injured in the blaze is Lt.-Col. Ahuva Tomer, Commander of Haifa Police, who is in serious condition in Rambam Hospital after suffering burns.

Early on Friday morning it was confirmed that the process of notifying the families of the victims has been completed. Concurrently, the process of identifying bodies continues at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.

This is the largest and deadliest fire since Israel's founding in 1948, and possibly also the worst terror attack in its history, if suspicion of arson is confirmed. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday evening that the fire on the Carmel range is "a disaster of a scope that we are not familiar with."




Conflicting reports
Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich said Thursday evening that the fire is under “currently under control,” but Fire Services Spokesman Hezi Levy said the opposite. The fire, he said, is out of control and is raging in three major locations: the Druze village of Usefiya, Beit Oren, and Nir Etzion.


Residents of religious kibbutz Nir Etzion, the Ein Hod artists' village and the nearby Arab village Ein Hud have been instructed to leave their homes, after it was determined that the fire might reach the communities.

The residents of Kibbutz Beit Oren and Usefiyeh were evacuated earlier in the day, as were the students of Haifa University, which is somewhat further away. Several homes in Usefiya have been burnt to the ground. Haifa University has been closed down until further notice.

The Brosh neighborhood in Tirat HaCarmel and a mental health hospital in Tirat HaCarmel were also evacuated. Early on Friday morning, several streets in the Haifa neighborhood of Denia were also evacuated due to concerns that the flames would reach the neighborhood.

A resident of Beit Oren told Channel 2 news that several homes in the kibbutz burned down. Firefighters' spokesman Levy called Beit Oren "the former kibbutz of Beit Oren" in an evening interview, and said most of the homes in the comnmunity had been damaged.

Arson likely
Channel 2 reporter Yossi Mizrachi said that the way in which the fire spread indicated that the blaze erupted from three locations simultaneously -- making arson a likely possibility.

The fire broke out around 10:00 AM this morning in an illegal garbage dump in the Carmel Mountains.

Ongoing rescue and fire-fighting efforts are said to be nearly impossible given the physical conditions of the mountains, smoke, dry conditions and winds.

The trapped bus is said to have departed from the Damon Prison, apparently as part of the attempt to evacuate the prison in the face of the fast-spreading fire.

The Damon jail mostly holds Arabs who were caught illegally entering Israel from the Palestinian Authority. According to IDF Radio, however, the bus was "not a prisoner bus."
If proven to be arson, then this will be the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history.  As I am writting this, 15,000 residents have been evacuated from Haifa, every firefighter in the country is working to fight this fire including members of the IDF, the nations of Britain, France, Romania, Greece, Egypt, Turkey,Jordan,  Cyprus, Spain, Croatia, Azerbaijan and Russia are sending help.   The Mayor of New York City is sending fire retardant chemicals, while President Obama sent his condolences to the families.

Today is a National Day of Mourning for Israel.  Prayers for the Dead, for the Firefighters and for very much needed rain are being said.

Some time during today please say a prayer for Israel and the brave men and women fighting this battle.

UPDATE:

The body count is now at 42, it is expected to rise higher. And more names of the dead have been released to the public.
The Carmel fire, Israel's worst natural calamity ever, is not yet under control, despite the arrival of fire-fighting planes from Bulgaria and other countries. The fire is still threatening the Denya neighborhood in Haifa and towards Friday afternoon, came close to Atlit..

A fire department spokesman announced a request for all firefighters to come to relieve the exhausted firefighters of the north, who are refusing to leave the site, but are on the verge of collapse. He announced that the firefighting services are critically short of firefighting materials, complicated by the lack of rain and strong winds.

The names of several of the victims of the Carmel Forest tragic fire were released early on Friday morning:

Oshrat Pinto (26) of Tzfat will be laid to rest at 12:00 in the Tzfat military cemetery. She is survived by her parents and siblings.

Ronen Peretz (34) of Ashkelon is survived by his wife, Shirit, and two young children, ages 6 and 3.

Hagai Jorno (28) of Kiryat Gat will be laid to rest at 12:00 in his city's military cemetery. He is survived by his wife and a young daughter.

Ro'i Biton (28) of Kiryat Gat is survived by his wife, who is eight months pregnant, and a son.

Yakir Suissa (25) of Dimona will be laid to rest in the Dimona military cemetery at 12:00. He spoke to his sister shortly before the tragedy, and she heard him recite the Traveler's Prayer to a chorus of “amen”s. His father died three years ago after suffering a heart attack during a terrorist bombing.

Inbal Amoyal (26) of Dimona had finished a second degree in criminology and wished to serve in Israel's security forces like her brothers. She is survived by her parents and four siblings.

Siyum Tzagi (31) of Netivot will be laid to rest at 11:30 in the Netivot military cemetery. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Kfir Ohana (30) of Ofakim will be laid to rest in the Ofakim military cemetery at 12:00. He is survived by his wife Olga, who is nine months pregnant, and a 2-year-old daughter.

Wassim Abu-Reish (28) of Yarkha is survived by a wife and three children.

Topaz Even-Chen Klein (28) of Rehovot will be laid to rest in her city's military cemetery at 12:00.

Maor Ganon (27) of Gan Yavne will be laid to rest in the Yavne military cemetery at 12:00.

Beiber Shadi (35) of Kfar Jat will be buried in Kfar Jat at 12:00.

Tafash A'adel (33) of Beit Jan will be laid to rest at 12:00 in Beit Jan. He is survived by a wife and 2 children.

Eran Weisel (31) of Kiryat Bialik will be laid to rest at 12:00 in Haifa. He is survived by his wife and a child.

Early on Friday morning it was confirmed that the process of notifying the families of the victims has been completed. Concurrently, the process of identifying bodies continues at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.
As with any disaster, one of the first agencies on the scene, ready to help the survivors is the Magen David Adom (The Red Star of David).
HAIFA (December 2, 2010) -- A huge fire which is raging across the Carmel Mountains between Haifa University and the Druze village of Ussafiya has killed 40 prison guard trainees and injured dozens, including MDA personnel and firemen.

Five MDA personnel have been evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, suffering from smoke inhalation and officials are expressing pessimism that the flames will be extinguished any time soon due to extremely dry conditions and strong winds. Magen David Adom responded to the emergency immediately, dispatching more than 50 medical teams and these personnel were immediately put to work when a bus of prison guard trainees racing to the Damon Prison to evacuate inmates was engulfed in flames.

Full Story
The MDA is always there when disaster strikes Israel. Whether it is a rocket attack in Sderot or a fire in Haifa, the MDA will usually be the first on the scene.  If you want to help them click here.  I am looking for information to help the families of those who died.  If you, my truth seeker, knows of one.  You can e-mail  me here.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

I'm ashamed to admit I knew very little about the Druze until this and reading your article on them. Very interesting.

What a shame at the loss of life in the fires.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com