A two-year-old Israeli toddler died on Sunday night after a fire broke out in her family's apartment in the southern city of Be'er Sheva. The infant died as a result of smoke inhalation.
Her brother, aged 4, is considered to be in serious condition and fighting for his life. Two more siblings, aged six months and 8 respectively, were lightly injured in the fire.
The 8-year-old girl jumped from the balcony of her apartment towards a carpet that her neighbors stretched out for her several meters below the building. The four siblings were evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in the city, where the two-year-old's death was determined.
The mother of the four, who was at the apartment when the fire broke out, was lightly injured and treated at the scene.
The apartment is situated on the seventh floor of an eight-story building, and fire department services are said to have extinguished the flames. Police is checking an initial suspicion that the fire was caused as a result of the children's playing with flammable materials. The mother told police that she was in a different part of the apartment than her children when the fire broke out, and didn't see what they were doing.
Footage from the scene shows the 8-year-old girl jumping from the balcony and her neighbors catching her, effectively saving her life. A neighbor who helped rescuing efforts was evacuated to the hospital along with the family in moderate condition.
An MDA paramedic who treated two of the children said that "firemen extracted the infant and moved her to the stairwell on the fifth floor, where we received her without a pulse and not breathing. We carried out advanced resuscitation efforts. The firemen then rescued another infant in grave condition who suffered from smoke inhalation. We gave him life-saving treatment. When the baby's pulse returned and the two's condition stabilized, we evacuated them to the hospital in serious condition."
A neighbor living in the building where the fire broke out told Haaretz: "We saw that there's a fire and went downstairs. We heard a woman screaming and saw smoke coming out of their window. We waited for the fire department. The woman screamed that her child was stuck there."
A friend of the mother recounted that "she was with me on the phone when it happened and she started screaming: 'Fire, fire, I can't find two kids. Two are trapped. Two are missing.' I told her to call the neighbors, to ask for someone to come."
Data from the organization Beterem- Safe Kids Israel indicated that over the past decade, 61 Israeli children died as a result of fires. Last year 10 children died in fires.
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