In what appears to be the latest gas explosion in the country, a woman was seriously injured and two others were hurt in a blast and subsequent fire at an apartment building on Herzl Street in south Tel Aviv on Sunday.
Magen David Adom paramedics said they received a call at 10:46 a.m. about an explosion in the first floor apartment of a two-story building. They found a 30-year-old woman unconscious, suffering from burns to her upper body and injuries caused by a shock wave.
The woman was put on a respirator and rushed to the city’s Ichilov Hospital at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, as were two others suffering from smoke inhalation.
PazGaz Ltd., which provides gas to some of the people in the building, told The Jerusalem Post it had received a call from a resident at 8 a.m. reporting a strong odor of gas. A technician was on his way at 11 a.m. when the explosion took place, and the response time was well within the expected time, the company said.
According to its records, the gas hookups for all of its clients in the building were up to code, PazGaz said.
On Sunday afternoon, the stairwells were covered with water and ash as two residents used a fire hose and mops to clean the corridors of the floor where the blast took place.
One resident cleaning up, Alon, lives two doors down from the apartment where the explosion happened. He said he slept through the blast, only awakening when he heard the injured woman screaming outside his door. She made it out of her apartment, but collapsed in the corridor, he said.
The ceiling and walls of the second floor were stained with soot left by the thick smoke pouring out of the woman’s apartment. Inside the damage was devastating – all of her belongings had been scorched or melted, and there were chunks of shattered concrete across the floor and kitchen, looking somewhat like an apartment hit by a rocket.
Another resident of the building said the neighbor who lives above the woman had called police almost 10 hours before the explosion, and that firefighters and police came and left saying that there wasn’t a strong odor of gas. On Sunday evening, police said they still has not definitively determined what caused the explosion.
Tel Aviv police said on Sunday night that “at 2 a.m. we received a call about a suspected gas leak. When a patrol car arrived at the scene firefighters were already there dealing with the scene and police were told that the situation was under control and there was no need for them to be there, at which point they left.”
In January, a couple and their two-year-old son were killed by a gas explosion at their apartment in Gilo in Jerusalem.
Police arrested a technician from Supergas Ltd. when it was determined that he had been called to the site earlier after reports of a strong aroma of gas, and left saying that the problem had been solved.
Also on Sunday, a welder at a Petah Tikva building site was hurt by an explosion believed to have been caused by an underground gas canister.