Firefighter Succumbs to Injuries; 44th Fatality of Blaze

35-year-old Danny Hayat fought the flames that engulfed the bus carrying cadets to the evacuation of Damon Prison.

One of the firemen injured in the Carmel fire died of his wounds yesterday at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, becoming the blaze's 44th fatality. Danny Hayat, a 35-year-old from Afula, was injured trying to rescue cadets from the burning Prison Service bus two and a half weeks ago.

Danny Hayat

Two other injured have died since the fire: Haifa police chief Ahuva Tomer and Prison Service cadet Jalal Bissan.

Hayat was called to the scene with his partner in the Jezreel region fire department, Uri Samandayev. They were joined by 16-year-old volunteer fireman Elad Rivan. The three fought the flames that engulfed the bus carrying cadets to the evacuation of Damon Prison.

Samandayev and Rivan died at the scene, while Hayat was rescued in critical condition, suffering from burns to 65 percent of his body. He was hospitalized for two weeks at Rambam, and recently had begun receiving artificial skin grafts.

"He's getting stronger by the hour and already feels better, we're optimistic," his mother Batsheva, a teacher, said in the days after the fire. "He understands when we speak to him, and when we say the names of his children he makes a sign with his fingers. He shows strength and he's making us stronger. His pregnant wife, the rest of his family, his friends and firemen from across the country are sitting and waiting for good news."

Hayat was the founder and commander of the Jezreel rescue unit. The unit's flag hung outside the intensive care room while Hayat was in the hospital.

The family received letters of support including a box of mail from her fourth-grade students at the Alon Jezreel school in Migdal Ha'emek. "Don't cry, be strong," wrote one student, "you taught us not to cry when we have problems and to come to you to become stronger, so now you come to me and I'll make you stronger."

Hayat's mother thanked the medical staff and the prime minister's family.

"My son died today, leaving a loving family and friends, and going somewhere where he is loved just as much. Danny risked his life to save the lives of others. This was his purpose in life, his profession and what he loved to do.

"I wish to thank the medical staff, who fought for his life until the very last moment, and the Netanyahu family, which helped and stayed interested in our situation. We will now be helping Hofit, Danny's wife and the mother of his two sons, who is due to give birth to his daughter soon."