40 prison guards dead after bus engulfed in fire

40 prison guards are killed after being trapped in bus; Haifa police chief critically injured; fire-fighting crews, planes attempt to control fire in North amidst heavy winds.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
December 2, 2010 18:03
2 minute read.
Fire rages in the Carmel, Thursday

Carmel fire 311. (photo credit: Israel Police)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

As fires raged in the Carmel mountains on Thursday, 40 prison wardens en route to the Damon Prison burned to death in a bus caught up in the blaze .

The wardens were meant to assist in evacuating some 500 prisoners from the facility, situated near Kibbutz Beit Oren. Their vehicle was engulfed in fast moving flames which had spread to the narrow mountain road linking Atlit to Kibbutz Bet Oren.





Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


A firefighter spokesman said the blaze had traveled 1500 meters in less than three minutes, adding, "the bus had no chance. They tried to escape but were burned alive. It was a horrific scene."

The spokesman added that the fire was very far from the road on which the bus was traveling when it first set off towards the prison, but had spread far faster than expected.


The IDF Home Front Command established a command center near the scene of the blaze and was coordinating relief efforts together with the Northern District Police.

Forces were assisting in evacuating neighborhoods in Tirat Hacarmel after the fire began to surround the eastern part of the city. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were also diverted to the scene of the fire to assist fire fighters in tracking its direction.

RELATED:
Carmel fire: Barak instructs IDF to mobilize forces
Aharonovitch confirms 3 still missing; search continues

Kibbutz Bet Oren was reported to have been largely destroyed by the flames, after it was evacuated.



The head of the Haifa Police, Dep.-Cmdr. Ahuva Tomer, was critically injured in the fire and she was evacuated to the Rambam Medical Center and was being treated for severe burns.

Fire and Rescue Commissioner Shimon Romach added that the firefighting operation would be limited to ground forces after sunset, since fire planes cannot be used at night. "I don't think we will get control of this tonight," he added.

Thousands of dunams have gone up in flames in the Carmel forest between Haifa University and Ussafiya, and it remains unclear how the incident will end at this stage.

Police described the fire as a "major disaster. Many of the dead are from the security forces, and include civilians. The fire is continuing to spread and is endangering many areas."

Police have asked the public to stay clear of the whole area.

Traffic Police sealed off Route 4 between Beit Oren and Haifa over fears that fires could spread to the Atlit-Tirat Hacarmel area. Police have instructed drivers to use Routes 2 or 6 instead and to stay away from the area.

The area in question contains heavy brush that burns easily, according to firefighters. This fact coupled with strong winds has prompted the evacuations and the presence of multiple fire crews brought in to help with the blaze from various districts in the country.

Additional number for information for affected families: 08 977-5717

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD