A large fire broke out on the top two floors of Tel Aviv’s landmark Shalom Tower
on Wednesday, sending black plumes of smoke into the city’s evening
With electricity and elevator services cut off, emergency workers
evacuated all of the building’s occupants, and nearly 60 firefighters equipped
with oxygen tanks rushed up 29 floors to take turns dousing the
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Firefighters battled for several hours to get the fire under
control, and said their efforts were hampered by the high location of the fire,
the lack of electricity and elevators, and an initial problem in pumping water
up to the top of the 34-story, 142-meter tower.
“We treated four people
for smoke inhalation on the scene. They were not seriously injured,” a Magen
David Adom paramedic said.
The fire broke out at about 4:30 p.m., and a
large number of fire engines, ambulances and police converged on the scene,
initially fearing mass casualties.
Toward the evening, fears of a serious
incident faded, although firefighters asked police to move crowds of onlookers
back from the building due to concerns that parts of the upper structure were
not entirely sound after exposure to high temperatures.
completed a second scan of the building to ensure that no occupants were trapped
inside, giving the all-clear by 8 p.m.
“We received reports of a fire
this afternoon. Our forces are focused on the 29th and 30th floors of the
building,” a firefighter spokesman said earlier during the day.
had sealed all roads leading to the area and asked members of the public to
avoid the scene.
Investigators said it was too soon to know what had
caused the blaze, adding that a full investigation would begin after the final
flames were out.
Based on an initial analysis, they believe the fire had
one source, rather than having begun in more than one place, which could have
indicated foul play.
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