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At Least 40 Dead As Fire Rages in Haifa

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Posted on December 2 2010 7:24 pm
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You all are hearing about the big fire near Haifa.  I am in the city, and probably do not have much better information than you all have.

But a few fast comments.   A lot is still not known about the fire and the related events.  It now looks like it started in an illegal garbage site near the Druse village of Issawiya on Mt Carmel.  It spread east and the ex-kibbutz of Beit Oren was badly damaged.  The worst part of the tragedy is the death of about 40 prison service cadets on a bus caught in the firestorm.  As fate would have it, most of those cadets are apparently Druse themselves, and had been in a training course to serve as prison wardens and workers.Fire started during first day of Hannuka, and is raging now as Jews light the second candle.  It has not yet rained this year and the country is parched.  Ideal for forest fires.

There are reports of incompetence on Israel’s government’s part in having failed to plan properly for such an event and for having failed to procure firefighting planes and equipment.  We will know more later if these charges are fair.

The air in Haifa is filled with smoke.  The flames are not far from the University of Haifa, so if the winds change I could end up getting a long vacation.  University was evacuated today at 2 PM.  The fires are clearly visible from the Haifa-Tel Aviv highway.  From a distance the smoke looks like an erupting volcano.

Tira, the next town south of Haifa is being partially evacuated, and plans are afoot to evacuate the southernmost neighborhood in Haifa, Denya, where the rich and yuppies live in between forest fires.  (It has seen damage in the past from other fires.)

Most forest fires in Israel are acts of ecological terror set by Arab arsonists.  When this fire broke out, there were news reports here that it was arson, although now the media are claiming (politically correctly?) that it was accidental and spread from a Druse garbage lot.

The chief of Haifa police was injured in the fire.  As it turns out, the chief is a woman (I confess, I did not even know that).   Yes, a woman.   But that will no doubt be overlooked by the radical feminizts sucking up to the Hamas and boycotting Israel.  See here.

Israel asked for firefighting aid from Turkey.  I personally would have limited the requests for aid to civilized countries.

More here.

Firefighters recommend evacuation of Haifa University — Haifa firefighters recommended that Haifa University students be evacuated from campus on Thursday, due to a fire raging on the Carmel. In their recommendation they stated that there was no fear of the fire spreading in the university’s direction and that the evacuation was merely a precautionary measure.

2.  On another matter:   See talkback 2 here.

And talkback 13 here.

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