One dead, 21 others transported for treatment after chandelier collapse in Yavne.
(photo credit: MDA)
A wedding hall where a woman was killed by a falling light fixture overnight Monday was operating without a permit from the local municipality, a spokesman from Yavne’s city hall said Tuesday.
The light fixture that fell to the floor at the Adia wedding hall in Yavne struck and killed 54-year-old Aviva Hayun and left more than 20 other people injured, including four who were moderately hurt.
According to spokesman Ariel Heller, the building has permits, but not to operate as a business. Heller said the owners submitted a request for a business permit but still have not met the requirements of receiving a business license, because the business has not gained approval from the Health Ministry.
Heller said the municipality has for the past few months been pursuing legal procedures against the owners for operating without a license and that the Rehovot Magistrate’s Court has yet to issue a ruling on the matter.
Heller said they did receive permits from the Fire and Rescue Services and the police, however, and that regardless, the internal lighting system and any other design features inside the establishment did not require outside approval.
Hours after the tragedy, Central District police said it had begun questioning the owners of the wedding hall under caution, on suspicion of negligent manslaughter.
Police said they had also questioned under caution an engineer who worked as a safety consultant for the hall and a member of the staff.
In addition, police said they had gathered testimony from 14 of the injured, as well as from an architect and one of the employees who operated the lighting system. They also confiscated the CCTV footage as well as footage from the wedding photographer.
Police and the owners also reached an agreement on Tuesday to close the business for the next 30 days, until further investigations can be carried out.
Attorneys for the owners pointed out Tuesday afternoon that police themselves inspected the establishment and gave them a permit months earlier.
Avi Hemi, one of the lawyers representing the owners, said the hall had all the necessary permits and that “they opened the wedding hall after using all of the best professionals in the business.”
Monday night’s tragedy was a “difficult and severe incident caused by a higher power,” he said, and that his clients weren’t responsible.
Hayun, married and a mother of three, was buried Tuesday evening at Moshav Emunim near Yavne.