Two people died on Shabbat from the inhalation of hydrogen sulfide at the Ashdod refinery, according to Kol Yisrael government radio. Firefighters and police who responded to the initial report were prevented from entering the scene for many minutes until intervention by the local police commander allowed firefighters who deal with hazardous materials to enter.
The refinery explained that at the time only personnel from the Magen David Adom emergency service were allowed to enter because of the need to ascertain if the area was still contaminated. A senior firefighting official said the plant's response was puzzling, since only a hazardous materials team is qualified to deal with such situations. The refinery is cooperating fully with the investigation of the police and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Labor.