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Families May Sue if Watchdog's Carmel Fire Report Names Names

'I will not give up on the fact that the relevant persons who are found to be responsible should be held accountable for their actions,' says father of fireman killed on first day of the fire.

The bereaved families from the Carmel fire disaster are waiting for the final report of the State Comptroller's Office to decide what to do next.

Mordechai Semandayev, father of fireman Uri Semandayev from Migdal Haemek, killed on the first day of the fire, told Haaretz Sunday that he has faith in the state comptroller.

Carmel fire
Dan Amir

Following the publication of the report he will consider whether to sue the state for damages and demand the resignation of those officials responsible.

"We are waiting to see what will be in the report and if they address the senseless loss of our children," Semandayev said yesterday. "The state comptroller said on TV that there was a failure here. I do not want to talk about money, but certainly I will sue. My son was lost in three seconds and my family is unable to function. I will not give up on the fact that the relevant persons who are found to be responsible should be held accountable for their actions. If the state comptroller names those responsible, we will demand their resignation, together with the rest of the families. I have faith in the state comptroller that he will find things, and will not hide them. We will follow what he has to say."

Nava Boker, who lost her husband Lior, a policeman, in the blaze, told Haaretz Sunday that "the Israeli government needs to learn lessons. The families paid a very heavy personal price. The various bodies need to adopt the necessary changes and prepare in advance. To implement the recommendations that will be made and to fix the shortfalls."

The Haifa District Court rejected in May a suit filed by Danny Rosen against the State of Israel and Interior Minister Eli Yishai. Rosen, domestic partner to police commander Ahuva Tomer, who died in the fire, claimed NIS 2 million in compensation which he intended to donate to the scholarship fund for police officers' children.

Rosen also demanded that Yishai resign. A similar suit for NIS 20 million, by the family of Ayas Najib Sarhan, was also rejected.

By law the government is not liable for deaths that occur while on duty. Compensation is paid as part of the law which covers the families of soldiers and police officers.