6:55PM IL: (UPDATE BELOW) A major fire has broken out in Ashdod’s northern industrial zone, in an area containing hazardous materials. It appears the fire was caused by an electrical short. Mayor Dr. Yechiel Lasri states that there is no question regarding the cause of the fire and stressed it is not in any way connected to rocket attacks.
At present, two people have been seriously injured and seven are reported in moderate condition. The fire is raging out of control at this time.
Residents of areas Alef, Bet and Gimmel are instructed to remain indoors and shut all windows. Officials stress there is no need to evacuate anyone at present, explaining wind direction is working in favor of residents.
UPDATE 7:45PM IL: Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yechiel Lasri reported a short time ago that residents in Ashdod may once again open their windows, with the exception of homes directly adjacent to the city’s northern industrial zone, there the chemical storage facility fire appears to be almost under control.
Despite Lasri’s optimistic statements, fire officials on the scene are acknowledging that the blaze is not longer ‘out of control’ but they are not willing to state it is ‘under control’ at this time.
At least nine people were injured in the blaze, apparently as a result of being trapped in the building. Two people were moderately or seriously injured. The reports are conflicting. A number of others were moderately and lightly injured. Victims were transported to Kaplan Hospital in Rechovot and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.
IDF Homefront Command officials remind residents that although they may leave their homes, they must still comply with regulations addressing concerns surrounding the Gaza War.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)