Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Nearly two years after a gas explosion at an apartment complex in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood killed four residents, the municipality on Sunday announced that all the homes damaged by the explosion will be demolished and rebuilt.
Costs for the project, to be carried out by a private contractor, will be defrayed by the resulting insurance claims from the January 2014 blast, caused by a Supergas technician’s negligence.
Avraham and Galit Tufan, ages 56 and 42, respectively, and their two-year-old son, Yosef Haim, were killed instantly in their third-floor apartment during the 1:30 a.m. blast, which also took the life of 50-year-old Linda Schvartz days later.
Following the explosion, residents of the building were housed in hotels, as municipal engineering teams undertook exhaustive testing to ensure the safety and soundness of the enormous four-story apartment complex.
“After intensive efforts, the Jerusalem Municipality produced a blueprint outlining the apartments that will be demolished and rebuilt, and their owners will be able to return to live in their homes renewed,” the city said.
“The outline will be presented to tenants and insurance companies, and the municipality is prepared for its implementation together with other partners.”
The project is estimated to last until February of 2016.
In the interim, homeowners from the designated apartments will receive alternate housing covered under the terms of the agreement, the municipality said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat praised the plan as the appropriate response to the tragedy.
“The Gilo gas disaster was a tragic event, unusual and unfortunate, and I’m glad we’ve been able to offer this outline so tenants can return as soon as possible with dignity to their homes,” he said.
It remains unclear how many apartments will be refurbished, when the project will commence, or what the total costs are.