Fire and Rescue Services were fighting a fire that erupted in the area where the Israel Military Industries factory used to sit near Herzliya on Friday, after a large cloud of smoke was spotted by local residents.
The are where the fire is burning contains explosives, so firefighting aircraft are taking part in the firefighting efforts. According to the Fire and Rescue Services, there are conflicting reports about whether or not an explosion was heard before the fire broke out.
The source of the fire will be investigated later on. There is no concern of dangerous materials leaking at the site.
The Herzliya Municipality noted on Friday that it had sent a letter to the government demanding that the state take responsibility for the area, secure it, and start clearing the land, but, despite a discussion held between the government ministries last week, no decision has been made on the issue.
Herzliya Mayor Moshe Padlon held a press conference on Friday, warning that the area is a ticking time bomb.
"We have appealed dozens of times to all the relevant parties in the country to deal with the issue, and until the previous explosion, which happened last month - we did not receive any answers from any party. What else needs to happen for the country to wake up? About two years ago, the court accepted the petition we submitted according to which construction in the area should be prohibited. Today we can say with certainty that thanks to our struggle and thanks to the court's decision, we prevented a major disaster," the municipality said.
The municipality called on the public to avoid the area.
Fire comes month after explosion at same site
The fire comes a month after an explosion created a large crater at the site and shook the area.
The Israel Military Industries factory at the site used to produce explosives, ammunition, and gunpowder and was closed in the 1990s, a few years after two workers were killed in an explosion at the site.
In late June, an explosion shook the area, creating a seven meter wide crater at the site. It is still unclear what caused the explosion, although it's believed that the crater is located where an underground bunker containing tons of explosives was located, according to Calcalist.
The area where the explosion took place is more or less open to the public, according to Israel Hayom. Local residents complain that the state has neglected the area and has not conducted sufficient safety measures and checks on the area contaminated with explosive materials.