Israel train fire 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Israel Railways train involved in a fire on Tuesday that burned through
three carriages and left dozens of passengers injured by smoke inhalation did
not at all measure up to safety standards put into place in Israel in 2006, The
Jerusalem Post has learned.
Chaim Tamam, deputy chief inspector of the
Fire and Rescue Services, told the Post on Wednesday that a number of
regulations called for under Fire Safety Code 5435 were not adhered to in the
train, putting the lives of the passengers in danger.
“Code 5435 deals
with all the safety aspects of a train in case of fire, including how the exits,
engines and stations should operate. For instance, under this code, trains must
be sealed so that smoke can’t go from one carriage to another.
of fire, passengers must be able to open the doors to exit [the train] and the
emergency lights must come on so people can see.
None of these worked [in
“What we can say is that this train does not meet the
requirements of Code 5435.”
Tamam said the code also deals with the
materials used for the interior of railway carriages, which must be
“We can’t have a situation of train carriages burning like
torches, where a small mishap like someone dropping a cigarette could cause a
train to burst into flames,” he said.
Tamam said that the fire, which did
not cause any deaths, shows that trains dating from before 2006 or others in
which the requirements of Code 5435 were never implemented must immediately be
brought up to the required standard out of “a responsibility to their
On Tuesday, Israel Railways CEO Yitzhak Harel said it was
too early to say why the emergency systems didn’t open the carriages’
“There is a system that is supposed to open the doors
automatically in case of a fire, and we do not know why it malfunctioned,” he
said. All the doors could be opened by an emergency handle, Harel stressed, but
the passengers, in their rush and panic, did not manage to open
Tuesday’s fire broke out on a train traveling south from Nahariya.
The driver did not know there was a fire on board and the train continued on its
way until a security guard activated the emergency brakes and the train came to
a stop near Yakum, 10 kilometers south of Netanya.
Netanya fire chief and a member of the investigation committee probing the cause
of the blaze, said the committee had yet to definitively determine what caused
“One of the first conclusions we came to is that some diesel
fuel dripped out of an engine and caught fire, though we still aren’t completely
sure what caused the fire,” Shilan said on Wednesday morning.
conclusion is supported by investigative teams’ discovery of traces of diesel
fuel along 2 kilometers of train track – fuel that could very well have been
ignited by sparks generated by the train’s wheels.