Three children died Thursday when a fire broke out in a home in an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev.
An ambulance crew called to the scene tried to resuscitate all three while taking them to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, but they were pronounced dead on arrival.
The children – two girls ages 1 and 4 and a 3-year-old boy – apparently died of smoke inhalation. Laila, Khaled and Abrar Abu Sabit were unconscious when they arrived at the local clinic in their town, located near Hura, Thursday morning before being taken to the hospital.
Police said a fire investigator had begun an investigation. But before the police arrived, the floor of the house had been washed and the furniture had been removed. Now, they are trying to reconstruct the location of the furniture to help the fire investigator figure out how the blaze started and how it spread.
Channel 12 News reported that investigators suspect the fire started after the children were left alone and got hold of a lighter. The mother reportedly left the children home while she took out the garbage, and returned 18 minutes later. By the time she came back, the home was on fire and it took another 10 minutes to get inside, the news station reported.
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The town has declared three days of mourning over the incident, from Thursday through Saturday.