HORRIFIC TRAGEDY IN JERUSALEM: Detailed Report On Exterminating Poison Which Left Two Children Dead, And Family Hospitalized


IMG-20140122-WA0066The tragedy that occurred in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood of Yerushalayim on Wednesday, 21 Shevat 5774 has the country horrified. The frum family became ill, apparently the result of having an exterminator work in their apartment a day earlier. As a result, two children died in Shaare Zedek Hospital, sisters, one 18-months-old and the second 4-years-old. Two other children remain in a pediatric intensive care unit in serious/unstable condition.

It appears there was significant residue from the pesticide used, which was phosphorus base. At least one of the children complained of not feeling well on Tuesday night after the family returned. Being good parents they took the child to an emergency clinic and were sent home with Acamol, the Israeli equivalent of Tylenol.

When the family awakened on Wednesday morning no one felt well and at least one of the children vomited. Mom and dad remained home with the children and later in the morning a call was made to 911 after it was clear the situation was far more serious than first realized. After Ichud Hatzalah, Magen David Adom, police, fire and Environmental Ministry hazmat technicians responded to the home on Wednesday morning, it became painfully clear that a tragedy had occurred.

The 18-month-old died in the hospital not too long after arriving. Deputy Medical Director Dr. Ovadia Shemesh explained the all life-saving resuscitative measures were taken and the best medicine has to offer was being given to the children but there was no antidote to counteract the phosphorus and all that could be done is to support vital body functions. Dr. Shemesh stated the 4-year-old was in critical/unstable condition, and she died a few hours later in a pediatric intensive care unit. The chemical agent slowly attacked their lungs and other vital body organs.

The two remaining children, approximately 4 and 7 remain in serious/unstable condition in the intensive care unit. The parents, a frum couple in their 30s are listed in light medical condition but psychologically they are having a most difficult time as they continue davening.

The principal of the talmid torah where two of the children learn explained the parents spent hours in an emergency clinic at night and were sent home with the Acamol. “No one imagined that they were poisoned when they were throwing up and they were told to take something against vomiting” he explained.

The exterminator was taken into police custody as investigators are working to determine if the deaths were the result of negligence on his part. Experts explain that the pesticide in question is used in the industry and it is not illegal. Some explain it is possible that the solution was not sufficiently diluted and the residue on the floor of one of the rooms resulted in the lethal dose over the period of the entire night and early morning hours. Others posit the family may not have received proper instructions and returned too soon. Hazmat technicians measuring levels in the home later confirmed a dangerously high level of a toxic substance on the floor of one of the rooms. The fire department evacuated the entire building and closed Shachal Street as well as evacuating the nearby Noam School.

However, Professor Yonah Amitai, a specialist in pediatric toxicology at Bar Ilan University has a different view. While police explain the pesticide is legal, the professor explains the material used by the exterminator is not acceptable for home use. The phenomenon caused by inhaling the chemical he explains is as follows. The “Phosphine” attacks the intra- cellular oxygen utilization process and this leads to hitting organs that rely on oxygenation for survival, especially one’s brain, heart and lungs. The professor explained the expected symptoms of inhalation of this substance would include delirium and difficulty breathing, which can lead to death, which was the case here unfortunately.

Moriah Police Commander Chaim Blumfeld told the media the exterminator worked in the apartment two days ago, not the previous day. Blumfeld confirms establishing the pesticide used is indeed legal but not generally used for standard extermination jobs. The exterminator was not injured.

Fire Commander Eli Basson explained that when his firefighters arrived the door was locked. They were let in by a neighbor with a key. When they opened the door “there was an odor of a chemical substance,” he explained, stating the investigating continues.

Ichud Hatzalah adds that some of the responders were not feeling well after the call and they were sent to the hospital to be checked out as well.


The condition of the two brothers, 3 and 6-years-old remains serious and it appears preparations are underway to transport them from Shaare Zedek to Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikvah.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. They certainly don’t want the public to think this is a terror attack by an Arab worker.

    Another source has an expert at Shaarei Tzedek saying this is the same chemical used in the gas attacks in Syria and that the levels seen in this apt are the highest ever recorded here.

    This was NO ACCIDENT! I don’t think the explosion on Sunday was either. Crimes of opportunity? The rabbi who was hit in the head by a tractor the other day? Another crime of opportunity?

    Arabs are filled with hate for Jews. If they see their chance, they will take it. It’s only us, the Jews, who don’t seem to understand that a war is going on and our enemies are all around us.

  2. אביגיל פסיה בת מיכל
    מיכאל שלמה בת מיכל
    יצחק אייזק בת מיכל
    מיכל בת רחל
    שמעון עוזר בן ציפורה‎

    This might need to be updated.

  3. This was a gzar min hashamayim. But what is clear here is that there is an attitude for sure in govt employees as seen by the gas explosion this week that killed a family and by other workers in eretz yisroel that they do their job and don’t go beyond the call of duty even if what they’re dealing with is life threatening. As seen by the gas explosion and here when the parents took the kids to the merpaaha. There’s something wrong if a whole family goes to a doctor of the same exact symptoms. And there are clear signs of poison when everyones throwning up and the other signs seen here.

  4. This kids who are still in bad shape but alive:
    יצחק אייזיק בן מיכל
    מיכאל שלמה בן מיכל

    And the parents (who are in stable condition, but not great):
    שמעון עוזר בן צפורה
    מיכל בת רחל

  5. I never understood why people let exterminators spray poison inside their homes.
    These chemicals even if they dont kill people ( outside of this tragic accident ) should be sprayed outside your home.
    they are poison

  6. 1818, in EY, one needs to do extermination. Even for the cleanest apartments. Cleaning and laundry detergents are also poison. When used properly and responsibly, there is nothing wrong.

  7. Wow, so all of you who are more comfortable sitting back and saying “Well, duh, why’d they let an exterminator spray their house?” well, it’s great that you’re so very wise and prudent. An accident will never happen to “wise” people. Reminds me of the people who ask immediately after a fatal car accident, “was she wearing a seat belt??” It makes them feel better, like, I wear a seat belt, so I’ll never be hurt in a car accident. She should have been like me! Or my favorite– “Oy, cancer?? Nebach! But he was a smoker, right??” Cuz people who don’t smoke (such as the brilliant lady making the comment) will NEVER die of cancer. If it makes you feel better to blame the parents because they called a guy to come exterminate and they should have “known better,” let me assure you that EVERYONE in Israel uses exterminators AND LIVES TO TELL THE TALE, and guess what? Plenty of us here in the States too! (“I never heard of roaches killing a person??” Seriously??? THAT’S your reaction to this horrible story? Wow. Mi k’amcha yisrael!)

  8. I was shocked to discover that my legitimate posting questioning faith was deleted however you permit disgusting racist slander inciting hatred to pass without any issue

    Arabs are filled with hate for Jews. If they see their chance, they will take it.

  9. Maybe if we blame Arabs for all of our tragedies we don’t need to look in the mirror. As someone who has been personally affected by a pigu’a I’ll be the first to agree that we are hated, but instead of philosophizing about whose fault this is (Arabs? the parents?) maybe each person can find just one thing that he/she can work on instead of shifting the blame. When we hear of tragedies we should work on ourselves, not blame others.