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Massive Fire In Israel: 40 Dead, Thousands Evacuated

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  • Massive Fire In Israel: 40 Dead, Thousands Evacuated

    Northern fire: 12,000 residents evacuated

    Mass evacuation continues into night as fire rages in northern Israel; at least 40 people dead, casualty information center reopens for first time since Second Lebanon War. 'Within 30 minutes half the forest was in flames,' says local resident

    Ahiya Raved
    Latest Update: 12.03.10, 00:15 / Israel News

    Mass evacuation on: Some 12,000 people were evacuated from their homes by late Thursday as a massive fire continued to rage in northern Israel.

    Some 5,000 residents in the town of Tirat Carmel were ordered to leave home and thousands of others were evacuated from various northern communities. Two prisons and a psychiatric hospital were also evacuated for fear the flames would reach them.

    At least 40 Prison Service officer course cadets were killed in the fire earlier Thursday after their bus burned down en route to an evacuation mission in Damon Prison. Several other people were injured in the blaze, including Haifa Police Chief Ahuva Tomer, who was gravely hurt.

    The Interior Ministry's casualty information center has been reopened for the first time since the Second Lebanon War to collect all the information on blaze victims.

    Speaking earlier in the evening, Israel's firefighting chief, Shimon Romach said he was not optimistic about the prospects of containing the fire at this time.

    "I'm hoping that with our effort tonight and tomorrow we'd be able to contain the fire, yet the wind is making it difficult for us and it's expected to grow stronger by early morning. Hence, I cannot paint an optimistic picture at this time," he said.

    'It was a scary scene'

    The upper neighborhoods in Tirat Carmel were almost completely evacuated by Thursday night with many residents heading to their relatives or moving to the lower neighborhoods in town.

    Albert Schatz is one of the locals forced to leave their home. He told Ynet that around 7:30 pm residents in his area were ordered to evacuate the area, and 15 minutes later he was already out the door.

    "I packed a small bag, my wallet, ID, a few pictures and other important things. I quickly took my wife and kid to our relatives, living in the lower neighborhoods," he said. "The fire was spreading massively. One moment we saw it at the edge of the mountain and the next moment it was already making its way downhill. We realized we had no choice but to leave.

    Schatz said he has no idea what happened to his house.

    "We can't go up there. It was a scary scene. I've lived here for 20 years and we've encountered a few fires before, but never a fire this size" he said. "It was amazing - within 30 minutes almost half the forest was in flames."

    Immigrant Absorption Ministry Director General Dimitry Apartsev, who arrived at Tirat Carmel, said: "This is an emergency and we're here to help. The minister wanted to come here immediately, but we just calmed her down and told her there's no need. We bought with us Russian and Amharic speakers to help the police and security forces communicate with residents who are new immigrants. I just spoke with the mayor and told him we'll do anything we can to help."

    'Driver lost control of bus'

    The evacuation of Damon Prison ended in tragedy, after 40 cadets in a Prison Service officers course were burned to death in a flaming bus sent to help in the prison's evacuation. Apart from the 40 victims, several firemen and three police officers who drove a police car behind the bus were also injured.

    Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited the site of the massive fire which broke out in the Carmel on Thursday, the largest in Israel's history, and provided the media with details on the circumstances of the tragedy.

    "With great care I say this to you: the passengers on the bus apparently strayed off the lane when it was clear and the fire caught up with them. Apparently the driver lost control of the bus and was hurt and burned."

    Aharonovitch sent his condolences to the victims' families. "We are dealing with a mass-casualty event. There are some missing people who have yet to be located two to three."

    Haifa firefighter teams made a desparate plea to all fire brigades in Israel to help contain the fire. "The war on the Carmel is the war on the State of Israel," Reshef Levy from Haifa said. "The work will last days. These are crazy fire sites."

    The Haifa Municipality said that all Chanukah events scheduled for the weekend were canceled in light of the tragedy.

    Hassan Shaalan and Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to this report
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

  • #2
    Israel's deadliest fire leaves 40 dead

    Blaze breaks out in Carmel, forcing authorities to evacuate Damon Prison, Beit Oren near Haifa. Bus carrying some 50 passengers catches fire. Magen David Adom says 40 prison guards killed
    Ahiya Raved

    Deadliest fire known in Israel: Firefighters battled a large blaze Thursday in the Carmel Forest near Haifa, which left dozens dead and brought life to a halt for many communities. The 40 people killed on the bus, making their way to Damon Prison, were cadets in the Prison Service officers' course.

    Prison guards who came to the rescue of the prisoners paid with their lives: 40 Prison Service cadets were making their way to Damon Prison were burned alive. MDA set up a first aid mobile unit but began its evacuation since no injured were left on scene.

    Magen David Adom said a bus carrying some 50 jailers which left the Damon Prison caught fire. It was further reported that 40 prison guards were killed. MDA reported that three others were severely wounded, another lightly injured and two more people's condition is unknown. MDA confirmed the death of 22 out of the 40 people.

    Some of the injured men and women were members of the rescue forces and firefighters who risked their lives fighting the flames. Four IDF helicopters and one Air Force helicopter arrived at the scene to assist with evacuation. The fire continues to burn in the Carmel area, including inside kibbutz Beit Oren.

    A couple of hours after the burning prison bus fire was finally put out, tiny flames were still incinerating the sooty vehicle. More than ten scorched bodies surrounded the bus, and private cars of police officers who arrived at the scene and were caught in the flames were on the road nearby. ZAKA officials, police officers and friends of the deceased were walking around in utter shock

    Three hospitals in Haifa, Rambam, Carmel and Bnei Zion are on high alert. Dozens of beds have been placed at emergency rooms in the city. Doctors, nurses and assistants have been called from their homes. Relatives of the injured have arrived at the hospitals and the police are on scene directing traffic, allowing only emergency crews to enter in the area.

    Two severely injured people were admitted to Rambam, four more severely injured arrived at Carmel hospital, where other hospitalized patients were transferred to different departments in order to make room for injured people expected to arrive soon.

    Carmel Hospital official said: "Four injured people arrived here. One of them, a female who was in the burning bus, is in critical condition. Three more lightly injured suffering from smoke inhalation arrived here as well."

    Police forces, firefighter and ambulances are in the area, as well as Prison Service officials who arrived at a kibbutz in the Carmel. Fire Commissioner Shimon Romach said that a number of firefighters have been wounded in the fire: "The flames are going wild in certain locations, and we are trying to control them. There are wounded, a few of our people as well. We can't predict when this story will end, it could take many hours."

    The IDF has given the police access to dozens of medical teams, including IDF paramedics and doctors, medical equipment, helicopters, water tanks and a couple of battalions. Hundreds of soldiers from a nearby command base are currently trying to help put out the fire and evacuate the injured.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the fire as a "catastrophe the likes of which we have never known. We will have to draw many lessons in order to deal with catastrophes of this kind but right now, everything must be about saving lives."

    The prime minister praised the firefighters' work and said they were handling the fire with courage and dedication. He then travelled to the site of the fire.

    It was also reported that the prime minister spoke to the leaders of Russia, Italy, Greece and Cyprus and appealed to them for assistance in extinguishing the fire by asking them to send fire extinguishing planes.

    President Shimon Peres also commented and said: "Our hearts are with the firefighters who fight with amazing courage. Some of them were also injured." He further added: "We pray for a miracle, for their wellbeing, and for an end to the fire."

    The fire spread quickly due to easterly winds and quickly overtook dozens of square kilometers of forest, cutting off power to much of the area and dousing Haifa with smoke.

    One of the Prison Service officers who was present at the Carmel region when the fire broke out collapsed in the arms of his friends after visiting the site. "It's worse than a terrorist attack in Gaza," he said. "They just laid there on the floor, dozens of people, and there was nothing to do."

    One of the firefighters at the scene related: "We saw the bus catch fire. Dozens of victims were burned, it was very very shocking and it all happened because there was no control of the fire."

    A police source told Ynet that detectives were probing a lead saying an illegal dumping ground caused the large blaze in the Carmel forest.

    Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav visited the site and said authorities had known of the illegal activity for some time. "It was just a matter of time until a calamity occurred," he said.

    Firefighters ordered police to evacuate Damon Prison, located near the Druze town of Usfiya, as well as the town of Beit Oren. Other towns and hotels in the area are on alert.

    Prisoners were to be taken to other prisons nearby, and residents will be evacuated to a community center, the regional council said.

    Roads were also cut off, and authorities warned Haifa University to be prepared for evacuation if it became necessary.

    The blaze broke out around 11 am, and 15 firefighting teams were said to battling it "The wind is confusing the firefighters and making it very difficult for them," Reshef Hezi Levy, their spokesman, told Ynet.

    Dor Glick, Yoav Zitun, Hagai Einav, Adi Sardas and Meital Yasur-Beit Or contributed to the report.
    Last edited by bigross86; 03 Dec 10,, 00:25.
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.


    • #3
      Fire disaster: World offers help, Turkey sends planes

      Firefighting aircraft on way as Bibi pleads for world's help; Turkey, Egypt pledge assistance. Evacuees to be hosted by communities nationwide

      Ynet reporters
      Latest Update: 12.02.10, 23:38 / Israel News

      International community offering its help: Israeli authorities are expecting to receive some 20 firefighting aircraft Thursday night from Greece, Cyprus Spain, Croatia, Azerbaijan and Russian to help in the effort to contain the northern blaze that claimed at least 40 lives.

      Despite the great diplomatic tensions vis--vis Israel, Turkish officials announced that they too will be sending two firefighting airplanes. Egypt also pledged to send a plane to help battle the blaze.

      Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approached Russia, Italy, Greece and Cyprus and asked for firefighting aircraft to be sent to Israel. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed Israel's ambassadors in the United States, Europe and Jordan to look into possible ways these countries could assist Israel.

      The Foreign Ministry also opened a situation room that will maintain regular contact with states that offer their help.

      Meanwhile, communities and residents across Israel are preparing to host Israelis whose homes were damaged in the massive blaze.

      "As a community that experienced difficult periods, we wish to enlist for the cause and assist the families in their difficult hour as much as we can," said Nissim Malka, mayor of the border town of Kiryat Shmona. "We'll make guestrooms available to them and also enlist the help of families interested in hosting them for the entire weekend."

      Settlers offer help
      Meanwhile, officials at the Meron HaGalil regional council sent volunteers to offer their help in battling the fire. The local council head, Amit Sofer, said that guestrooms and bed and breakfasts in the area are prepared to host families who wish to stay there until the situation clears up.

      "We are looking into the possibility of preparing sports venues at educational facilities to take in a large number of families that would be able to sleep and eat there," he said. "This is the little we can do at this difficult time."

      Elsewhere, the Yesha Council has also set up an operation to take in families evacuated from their northern homes. Several compounds had been prepared to that end at various Judea and Samaria communities.

      In addition, the Ramat HaSharon city hall north of Tel Aviv opened an emergency call center for northern residents.
      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

      Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.


      • #4
        Ah hell, I'm sorry, Ben.

        If nothing else, at least some Arab countries are sympathetic and trying to help.


        • #5
          My sincerest sympathies are with you. Living in Southern California during the dry "season" (about 8 to 10 months out of the year) I know what you and your people are going through.

          But another way to look at this is the assistance you are getting from countries that normally don't get along well with yours. After all, wild fires and earthquakes don't belong to any sect or political party but they do tend to bring out the Humanitarian sides of ALL people regardless of any personal differences.
          Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.


          • #6
            The fires are still raging. I wanted to go up north and volunteer, but the police have blocked the roads near the fire and requested that people not come up to the area, it only causes confusion. I'm gonna see how I can volunteer once the fires are out.
            Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

            Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.


            • #7
              Netanyahu thanks Erdogan for aid
              Netanyahu thanks Erdogan for sending firefighting planes - Israel News, Ynetnews
              At emergency Cabinet meeting, prime minister says response to Israel's call for help 'unprecedented'
              Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with other world leaders for sending planes and firefighting equipment to Israel in order to assist the battle against the blaze consuming its northern region.

              Netanyahu added that he spoke with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan who "expressed his and his country's condolences to the families of the 41 casualties and Turkey's willingness to help."

              "I told Erdogan that we appreciate the major efforts during this time and I am sure that this will be a gateway to improving relations between the two countries", the prime minister said noted.

              Netanyahu spoke at a special Cabinet meeting called in the wake of flailing efforts to extinguish the flames. Netanyahu also thanked other world leaders, including Bulgaria's prime minister and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who sent "a very large Russian plane, perhaps the largest of its kind in the world"

              "The plane is on its way here, and will arrive in the afternoon," Netanyahu said, also thanking Egypt, Azerbaijan, Spain, Croatia, France, and Jordan for their offers. "I think this constitutes an unprecedented response to our appeal for international aid," he added.

              "We are dealing with a disaster of international proportions," Netanyahu said, adding that the government would focus on putting out the flames before attempting to glean any worthwhile conclusions. "During the coming week the Cabinet will debate a plan for purchasing planes," he added.

              "We know that 15,000 Israelis were evacuated from their homes and we will take care of them all," he said.

              "We will also take care of renovations, rehabilitation, and compensation as well as anything else required to return them to normalcy. We will rehabilitate the Carmel with a national plan."

              President Shimon Peres visited Tirat Carmel on Friday and said "I want to thank all the nations that volunteered to send planes. There were some offers we weren't expecting, like Turkey's offer. It is very nice that Prime Minister Erdogan offered aid without it being requested. Especially when taking into account the crisis in Israel-Turkey relations."

              The president met and sang Hanukkah songs with the children of Tirat Carmel who were transferred to a safe location away from the fire.

              Interior Minister Eli Yishai said before the meeting that he would demand an official investigation into "the failures in Israel's preparation for fires". Yishai, who has under his authority Israel's firefighting forces, said he would demand a probe of why the current and former governments did not properly equip Israel for such disasters.

              Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Friday morning that a criminal investigation will follow the giant blaze in the north. "We will be checking whether certain officials were negligent, whether arson was involved. But we will wait a few days," he said.


              • #8
                Israeli fires

                , RIP to the people killed in it ,and if started deliberately Ihope the perps swing .
                Last edited by tankie; 06 Dec 10,, 16:45.


                • #9
                  Threads merged.


                  • #10
                    Soz , never saw it