Technical fault seen as most likely cause in IKEA fire

Police recover surveillance cameras as all options are being investigated; Company chairman says employees' jobs are safe.

February 6, 2011 16:50
2 minute read.
Firefighters putting out fire at Ikea in Netanya

Ikea fire 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

The joint Fire and Rescue Service-police investigation team assembled Saturday night to investigate the cause of the fire that destroyed the Ikea outlet in Netanya has not yet been able to determine the cause of the blaze, but is leaning towards the theory that an electrical fault sparked the first flames.

“I believe we will reach a conclusion within days,” Sharon Police subdistrict spokesman Ch.-Supt. Shlomo Jurano told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, as images of the burned-out tin structure that used to house the first Ikea furniture store in Israel flooded the media.

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Massive fire destroys IKEA store in Netanya

Asked if there was a chance the fire was linked to a string of arson attacks on four vehicles in an adjacent neighborhood on Saturday night, Jurano said they were not related.

“We have two suspects we are seeking in connection with those arson incidents. We don’t think they are linked to what happened in Ikea,” the spokesman said.

Danny Yosefsberg, a spokesman for the Netanya Fire and Rescue Service, which is leading the investigation, told the Post, “We believe the most likely cause is a technical electric error on the roof of the structure.

“But we are looking at other options too,” he added, referring to the possibility of arson.

“Police have removed CCTV cameras from the area, though some of them were damaged,” Yosefsberg said. One of the questions being examined was how the fire could spread so quickly in a store fitted with cutting-edge fire-safety technology, he said.

“We believe this could be due to the type of tin structure involved. In addition, because we feared the building would collapse, firefighters had to vacate the store, and tackle the flames from outside,” he said.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon has ordered the establishment of a special committee to examine ways to assist consumers and 400 employees of the destroyed store.

Ron Hadasi, chairman of Ikea Israel, told Ma’ariv over the weekend that the jobs of all the employees were safe.

He added that it would take several months for the store to be rebuilt, and that Ikea would issue refunds at its Rishon Lezion branch.

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