Jerusalem Municipality extends aid to Gilo gas-explosion victims

Young boys overcome last week by fumes from exterminator’s chemicals remain in critical condition.

Jerusalem gas explosion, January 20, 2014. (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
Jerusalem gas explosion, January 20, 2014.
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
Four days after the funerals of the Tufan family, killed in their Gilo apartment last Monday as the result of a powerful gas explosion from a neighbor’s home, the Jerusalem Municipality said people displaced by the blast would continue to receive comprehensive aid.
Avraham and Galit Tufan, aged 56 and 42, respectively, and their two-year-old son, Yosef Chaim, were killed instantly by the 1 a.m. blast. An unidentified 50-yearold female tenant of the building remains in critical condition at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
The unidentified Supergas technician who allegedly deemed the home safe just a short time before the explosion was arrested Monday afternoon. He was released the following day pending an ongoing police investigation.
At least 12 families from the building were uprooted due to severe structural damage to their apartments, the municipality said, adding it hoped the safety hazards resulting from the explosion would be repaired at some point this week.
In the meantime, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat provided free hotel accommodations for the families and deployed engineering teams to assess the damage to their homes and ensure that all utilities, including electricity, gas and water, were safety restored.
The city’s Welfare Department has increased its assistance to the tenants, providing psychological counseling, food and other needs.
Meanwhile, three days after two-year-old Yael Gross and her four-year-old sister, Avigail, died from exposure to a powerful pesticide used in their Givat Mordechai home, their seven- and five-year-old brothers, Michael and Yitzhak, continue to cling to life on respirators.
The boys were transferred from Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the capital to Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where they are being treated with advanced respirators.
Their parents, also affected by the fumes, are expected to physically recover. They attended the burial of their daughters at Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem on Thursday.
The exterminator who treated the family’s apartment the previous day was arrested hours after the girls died and remains under house arrest, pending an ongoing police investigation. His identity is being withheld per a court gag order.
During the exterminator’s Thursday hearing, a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge determined that the pesticide in question had been “completely prohibited for household use,” spawning multiple investigations by the Health and Environmental Protection ministries.
In a separate pesticide poisoning in the same building, four young members of another family were admitted to Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Thursday due to similar symptoms that doctors said were far less severe than those of the Gross children.