A grand finale to a vacation in Israel ended in a serious accident late Tuesday when three tourists from Austin, Texas were injured in a fire at the Hammei Tveria Spa on Lake Kinneret
A 43-year-old man was severely burned and was listed in moderate-to-serious condition at Ramban Medical Center in Haifa. He is expected to be hospitalized for some time. A woman and another man, both in their thirties, were treated for burns and smoke inhalation at Poriya Hospital outside Tiberius, and were in good condition.
The fire started when the tourists were in the dry sauna room at the spa.
They are members of Austin's Jewish community and, according to police, had been vacationing in the Tiberius area for about a week.
On Tuesday evening, the night before they were supposed to fly back to the States, they decided to visit the spa.
"It was supposed to be the grand finale to their trip," said Tiberius Police chief Dep.-Cmdr. Ilan Sardel.
He said the three entered the dry sauna together, but after a few minutes, the 43-year-old left to get water to pour on the rocks, to produce more steam.
He reportedly picked up a Coca-Cola bottle filled with a clear fluid that he believed to be water, Sardel said. But when he dumped the liquid on the hot brazier, the fluid ignited, engulfing him in flames.
A fire investigator said the bottle actually contained a pure alcohol solution used for cleaning.
Police are investigating how the bottle came to be near the entrance to the sauna, but they believe it was left there by cleaners.