Galilee Kindergarten Ceiling Collapses - Seconds After Children Leave Room

Teacher lightly injured, children return to their homes "shocked and shaken."

A ceiling collapsed in the main activity room of a kindergarten in the Lower Galilee village of Beit Rimon on Tuesday only seconds after the children that attend the school left for the day. Miraculously, no children were hurt and only one kindergarten teacher was injured lightly.

Thirty-five children, aged three to six years, returned from an outdoor excursion just after ten o'clock in the morning and entered the main activity room in the kindergarten. They drank water and then moved into a side room; a minute later, the ceiling in the main space collapsed.

ceiling - Gil Eliyahu - November 16 2010
Gil Eliyahu

A kindergarten teacher in advanced stages of pregnancy was standing close to where the ceiling collapsed. She was only lightly injured and taken for medical observation.

One of the mothers of the children said, "The children told us that they head a loud boom and then there was a lot of dust and damage." According to the mother, the children returned to their homes "shocked and shaken."

"The sight [of the kindergarten] was frightening. It is hard to imagine what might have happened here. My eyes can hardly believe what they are seeing, the kindergarten looks like after an earthquake," the mother said.

The kindergarten building was built thirty years ago, at the time that the village was founded. The ceiling was built using the 'Ravitz technique' – a method that uses wooden rafters, a screen, and then a layer of concrete, topped by roof shingles.

Nazareth district police investigator Paz Markman said, "We are checking out all aspects of the incident, including the possibility of negligence. We are also investigating if changes were made to the building over the years."

A Lower Galilee council engineer arrived at the scene and ordered that the building be sectioned off. The council reported the kindergarten was checked out during the summer, as are all educational buildings, and at that time there had been no signs that the ceiling was in danger of collapsing.

This incident was the latest in a series of collapsing at kindergartens. Earlier this month, while the old Tel Aviv movie theater was being demolished, one of its walls collapsed on a kindergarten next door, when there were thankfully no children inside.

In March, a construction crane collapsed next to a kindergarten in Rehovot.