Unauthorized Fireworks Depot Blast Kills Two, Wounds Several in Central Israel

The explosion occurred north of the Tel Aviv area at Moshav Porat, and authorities urged nearby residents to take cover indoors as more than a dozen firefighter crews came to douse the blaze.

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Scene of the fireworks explosion in Moshav Porat on March 14, 2017.
Scene of the fireworks explosion in Moshav Porat on March 14, 2017.Credit: Courtesy of Israeli firefighters

Two people were killed and two others were wounded Tuesday when a fireworks warehouse exploded at Moshav Porat in the Sharon region.

The dead are Anas Abu Abad, 17, and Amir Abdul Malek Takrori, 24, both of Kalansua. A wounded man of 50 was evacuated in serious condition to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, where he is on a respirator. Another man, of around 30, suffered mild injuries to his upper body and was taken to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. Six people were treated for shock, two of whom were also taken to Meir Hospital.

Explosion at fireworks depot in central Israel.Credit: Haaretz/YouTube

Moshav residents were urged to take cover at first in the protected areas usually used during missile attacks, as the explosions caused considerable damage to several structures and shattered windows in others. More than 20 firefighting crews battled the blaze for several hours. Residents were gradually evacuated and the roads in the area were closed. During the afternoon, the road reopened and the electricity supply to the homes was restored. Out of concern for further fireworks explosions, security was posted around the warehouse.

The Lev Hasharon Regional Council confirmed that the warehouse was operating without a business license and without permits from the Fire and Rescue Services as required by law. Police, firefighters and the Environmental Protection Ministry launched a joint investigation into the incident, and the warehouse’s manager was detained and questioned. The owner will be questioned when his medical condition allows.

Regional council director Penina Amoyal-Moshe told Haaretz, “The council didn’t know about the warehouse and found out about it only today. Horrible harm was done to human life and to the injured. At least five homes and a synagogue were totally destroyed, and in others the roof flew off or windows were blown out. We are trying to estimate the damage and still aren’t sure what caused the incident.”

The council is still concerned there could be more conflagrations. “We’ve posted guards and signs around the area until we know for sure that the incident is over. Nevertheless, the community is open to traffic. We were busy calming school students today; we took them in to the clubhouse where they met with social workers.”

The regional council has provided lodging to those families whose homes were damaged.