11:00 IL: At least three people are reported in serious/critical condition following a fire and gas explosion on Herzl Street in Tel Aviv. The first EMS units have arrived on the scene and are treating the injured.
The blast occurred in an apartment. Firemen had to break in to the apartment to get to the victims. Fire officials report that preliminary findings point to an explosion due to a gas leak.
More information to follow as it becomes available.
Residents of the building in which the gas explosion occurred smelled gas on Sunday morning and they closed all the gas valves and phoned the gas company. The gas company reportedly promised to have a technician at the building within four hours but the blast preceded the technician’s visit.
Ichud Hatzalah EMT Yisrael Utmazgin reports “When I arrived at the apartment I saw it was burning, already aware of the likelihood of the involvement of gas. Together with an Ichud paramedic we began caring for the seriously injured woman who suffered burns and smoke inhalation. A man who was in moderate-to-serious condition from smoke inhalation was treated too”.
MDA paramedics and EMTs were operating on the scene and they transported the victims to local hospitals.
The call for the explosion was received by the fire department dispatcher at 10:44. Trucks were dispatched to 105 Herzl Street. Firemen immediately realized people were trapped inside and rescue efforts were immediate.
Fire Department officer Ilan Russo explains the blaze is under control and fire inspectors are operating on the scene. He hopes they will have definitive information as soon as the afternoon hours.
The woman in her 30s who was injured, one of three, is reported in critical condition.
MDA incident commander Yitzchak Ben-Aaron confirms there were only three injured. He reports the woman in his 30s, the most seriously injured of the three sustained burns to her upper body and medics had to assist her respirations. Officials in Ichilov Hospital report she is in critical condition.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/Photos: Emanuel Naftali, Ichud Hatzalah Spokesman’s Office )