Illegal Workers Killed in Blaze

A warehouse blaze killed two men and injured two others, all thought to be illegal Palestinian workers.

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Firefighters (illustrative)
Firefighters (illustrative)Credit: AP

Two people died and two others were injured on Tuesday morning in a warehouse fire on a moshav near Lod.

Two bodies were found in the warehouse of a metal fabrication factory in Beit Nehemia. One man broke his legs jumping out of a second-story window to escape the fire. Another man was injured by smoke inhalation. The injured men were taken to Asaf Harofe Medical Center in stable condition. They and the deceased are thought to have come from the territories to work illegally in Israel.

The fire department was called to the scene at 5 A.M. and arrived to find the two-story warehouse burning. After the blaze was extinguished, two badly burned bodies were found inside the warehouse. The police said they identified the bodies as Palestinians from the Nablus area of the West Bank, but they were sent to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir for verification.

The man who jumped out the window told police that he was sleeping in a room on the second floor of the warehouse and awoke to the feeling of heat rising from below. He said he stepped out of the room and saw the ground floor engulfed in flames. He then jumped out a window and broke both his legs on hitting the ground. During the fire, he told rescue teams that he thought two of his coworkers were trapped on the ground floor.

Witnesses said the warehouse was rented out to an event-planning company. Before the fire broke out, equipment that was used at the Lag B’omer festivities on Mount Meron over the weekend was returned to the warehouse.

Police are questioning the manager of the company, and will summon others as well. They are investigating legal status of the workers and whether fire-safety equipment was properly installed in the warehouse.

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