Teenager died trying to help put out blaze

Sixteen-year-old Elad Riven was member of the Fire Scouts, a branch of the Scouts for teenagers interested in volunteering with emergency services.

December 5, 2010 02:52
1 minute read.


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Sixteen-year-old Elad Riven was in civics class at his high school in Haifa on Thursday when he heard about the fire that had broken out across the Carmel mountain range. A member of the Fire Scouts, a branch of the Scouts for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 who are interested in volunteering with emergency services, he called his mother during recess and asked her to pick him up with his fire fighting uniform and bring him to the command headquarters.

When she told him she was worried and didn’t want to, he said that if she didn’t drive him, he would just take a bus.

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The 11th-grader at the Hebrew Reali school in Haifa volunteered with the Fire & Rescue service as part of a “personal involvement” class that requires students to volunteer for 60 hours. According to his principal, Riven went above and beyond that requirement by volunteering for hundreds of hours.

Forensic officers on Saturday identified Riven’s body near the prison service bus that the enormous forest fire incinerated on Thursday. He was the only child of his parents, Tzvia and Emil Riven.

“When he saw the smoke rising above the Carmel, he left school and ran to help put out the fire,” his mother said at the funeral. “He was close to the bus with the prison guards that went up in flames, ran to try and save lives and was trapped by the fire. That’s how his life was cut short. A heroic boy who ran into the fire instead of running away from it and saving his life.”

Riven was an excellent student who loved sports, his mother remembered. He also loved flying and dreamed of becoming a pilot, though he had already learned how to fly small aircraft. Fellow students remembered him as a wonderful friend who was loved by all. His friends threw him a surprise 16th birthday party last month.

His family hopes to dedicate the planting of a forest in Elad’s name to honor his love of nature.

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