Bulgarian firefighters 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Bulgarian firefighters who came to help Israel put out the worst fire in the country's history are nothing short of heroes, an Israeli fire commander said Friday.
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At the rescue services' headquarters at Haifa University on Friday, Fire Department spokesman Guy Menasherov said the Bulgarian contingent "is working very hard to save lives and save the Carmel. We seem them as brothers in arms and we are working side by side to fight this fire."
Menasherov described the Bulgarian contingent as including 92 personnel
who flew into Israel early this morning on the Bulgarian president's personal plane. They were joined by the Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs Dimiter Tzantchev, the former Bulgarian Ambassador to Israel,
who described the mission as of the utmost importance.
Throughout the afternoon, local Israelis from the Carmel region
approached two colonels from the Bulgarian Fire Department to express
their gratitude. One Carmel resident posed for pictures with the two
officers and told them "you dont understand how much this warms my heart
to see you here helping us."
A number of Israelis came up to shake the officers hands, one of whom
spoke of his family's roots in Bulgaria, and how his mother was born in
Sofia. The pleasantries and photo ops were cut short however, when the
Bulgarian officers and the former ambassador were spirited away by an
IDF home front officer (also with Bulgarian roots) who took them to
supervise their countrymen fighting the flames ravaging the Carmel.