Carmel fire bus
Bus trapped in Carmel wildfire, Dec. 2, 2010. Photo by Dan Oren.
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A firefighter who was injured while trying to rescue people trapped in a burning bus during the Carmel wildfire earlier this month succumbed to his wounds on Saturday, marking the 44th person to have been killed as a result of the fire.

The fire burned for 77 hours and destroyed nearly 50,000 dunams of land in the Carmel region. Thousands of northern residents were forced to evacuate and over 250 homes were lost to the blaze.

Jezreel Valley fire and rescue service officer Danny Hayat, suffered burns to 65 percent of his body while trying to help prison service officers course cadets evacuate a bus that got caught in the wildfire, leaving him in serious condition. The bus had been headed to the Damon Prison on the first day of the fire in order to help evacuate inmates from the path of the flames. Most of the 44 lives that were lost in the fire perished during the bus incident.

Hayat had been in an induced coma since being injured in the fire, and had underwent skin transplants. He succumbed to his injuries on Saturday at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

He leaves behind a pregnant wife and two children.

Last week, family members of another fire victim demanded that senior members of the Israeli government, including the prime minister, should face a criminal investigation for negligence over the fire.

Ze'ev Even Chen, a retired major general in the Israel Police, who lost his daughter Topaz Even Chen Klein in the fire, and her father-in law, Haim Klein, said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak should be investigated for criminal negligence in dealing with the fire.

The two men supported their claim of criminal negligence by pointing to a report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss which was published shortly after the fire.

In the report, released ahead of its scheduled time, Lindenstrauss defined the situation of the fire department as a continuous and serious failure, which could destroy the lives and property of many people.

The report placed the bulk of the blame on Yishai, as well as Steinitz and Barak, and stated that they must immediately reverse the neglect.