Gas poisoning kills Jerusalem couple at home

MDA called to scene after reports of strong smell of gas in building.

September 8, 2015 09:43
3 minute read.

Suspected gas leak, Jerusalem

Suspected gas leak, Jerusalem

A man and a woman in their fifties were found dead in their apartment in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning after what was thought to be a suspected gas leak. 

Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene in the Seven Communities neighborhood following reports of a gas smell emanating from the building. MDA found the man and woman dead and the other residents of the apartment building were evacuated. 

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"When we arrived we could smell the strong smell of gas from the building. The Fire Service evacuated the residents and I entered the building weating special protective clothing. The man and woman were lying in the apartment and we tried to resuscitate them but we were forced to pronounce their death," Netanel Refua an MDA paramedic said. 

Yaniv and Rachel Peretz, a young couple in their 30s, were found dead in their apartment in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning following an apparent gas leak in their home.

Police said no foul play is suspected, nor do they think the case involves criminal negligence.

Magen David Adom paramedics called to the scene on Panim Meirot street said they found the couple lying lifeless inside their home, not long after emergency services received a call of a strong smell of gas coming from the apartment.

Paramedic Natanel Refuah said that the gas could be smelled out in the street in front of the building and that after the residents were evacuated from the building they entered along with firefighters, wearing special protective suits. Both Yaniv and Rachel were found unconscious on the floor of the apartment, and could not be revived, Refuah said.

At Peretz’s apartment building in the ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Matersdorf, a notice on the front door said that “wrath has struck our building” and that the tragic deaths were “a direct and strong warning from God to do repentance and to invest more time in studying Torah and observing the commandments.”

Sarit Ginzburg, the Peretz’s next door neighbor, called the incident a tragedy and described the two as “intelligent, cheerful and good people.”

She said that at the beginning of the week she had knocked on their door to invite them for meals over Rosh Hashana but that no one had answered.

Ginzburg also pointed to a box containing books on Jewish law sitting in the corner of her room, which had been delivered to the front door of the Peretz’s apartment.

It sat there for a couple of days, and this, together with the fact that the couple had not answered the door, aroused Ginzburg’s suspicions.

She and her husband had a spare key to the Peretz apartment in case of necessity, and they tried to unlock the door but failed since the door was locked from inside with the keys in the lock. Ginzburg’s husband then called the fire department that subsequently discovered the two bodies.

The young couple had covered the metal components of their stove top with aluminum foil and placed a metal sheet, known as a blech, over at least one lit flame for the duration of Shabbat. This set-up is frequently used in Orthodox households to keep food warm over Shabbat, when flames cannot be lit according to Jewish law.

It is thought that the foil and the metal sheet prevented enough oxygen from reaching the flame, causing the production of CO gas which is odorless and poisonous.

The couple had all the windows of the apartment shut, which led to the build up of the CO gas.

Yaniv Peretz was originally from France, while Rachel was from the US. They made aliya to Israel two years ago.

“They were very good people, always smiling, very intelligent, and people who just wanted to do good, loved the Land of Israel, and settled here, and eventually wanted to buy an apartment,” said Ginzburg.

She said her and her husband had been close with the Peretz’s and had frequently hosted them for Shabbat meals, at which Yaniv would often discuss the weekly Torah portion or other aspects of Jewish thought.

Yaniv worked in the hi-tech field and was also studying for a degree in computer science.

Rachel worked as an investor in the financial sector for private clients.

The couple had no children.

The funeral will take place at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the Shmagar funeral home in the capital, and the couple will be buried in Tiberias.

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