Firefighters at the scene of a gas blast at a residential building on Beit Hanina, May 25, 2014.
Firefighters at the scene of a gas blast at a residential building on Beit Hanina, May 25, 2014. Photo by Fire fighting Jerusalem
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One person was killed and three injured when a leaky gas canister exploded as they entered a building in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The initial investigation indicates that all the casualties were members of one family returning from an event, and that the explosion occurred when they opened the door to the five-story building. In addition to the man who was killed, a 40-year-old woman is in serious condition and two boys, ages 11 and 14, were moderately hurt. All the injured suffered burns and were taken to city hospitals.

A member of the fire department said that the blast had apparently been caused by the faulty installation of stove top burners in one of the apartments in the building.

“It was a gas canister that exploded and caused a fire on the ground floor of a five-story building,” said paramedic Eyal Ben-Attar, who arrived on the scene. “When we searched the area we found two people who were hurt – a man who was killed on the spot and another person in moderate condition with burns to his limbs, who was transported to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.”

The deadly explosion was the latest in a string of blasts caused by gas canisters. Just a week ago, two children were lightly injured in an explosion caused by a gas leak in the kitchen of an apartment in Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood. In March, a gas explosion at a residential building on Herzl Street in Tel Aviv injured three people, one seriously.

In February, five people were killed in a gas explosion in Acre’s Old City. The entire building collapsed and adjacent buildings were also severely damaged. Two months later, indictments were filed on five counts of murder against two local residents accused of causing the explosion and the building collapse, allegedly due to a dispute between neighbors. The indictment says that the defendants, together with another person, conspired to set fire to a Pelephone cellular antenna that was installed atop an apartment in the building.

A month before that, four people, including a couple and their two-year-old son, were killed in a gas explosion in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood in which 10 people were injured. The explosion was caused by a gas leak that ignited. The technician,who was called to investigate a possible leak but left the building without fixing the problem, is suspected of negligence and has been banned from returning to work.