Police: Ban Technician Responsible for Gilo Explosion from Work
Police are expected to ask the court to ban the gas technician accused of criminal negligence in the Gilo gas explosion from returning to work, Army Radio reported Sunday.
The technician, who works at Supergas, is expected to arrive Sunday for a hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, where police will allegedly request that the technician be put on probation for 60 days.
The development is a major change since the disaster's aftermath. Police did not make such a request when the technician was released the morning after the disaster, and Supergas clarified at the time that the technician would be allowed to return to work at his leisure.
The Jerusalem explosion displaced 24 families, wounded 11 and killed three family members: Abraham Tufan (56), his wife Galit (42), and their infant son Joseph. A 60 year-old woman later died of her injuries.
At about 1 a.m. two weeks ago Sunday, MDA received numerous calls reporting the blast. Immediately, emergency care ambulances, cars and other vehicles, carrying tens of paramedics and on-call staff. The forces arriving on the scene found massive destruction accompanied by an eerie silence. They and were soon joined by police and fire department forces. MDA called the IDF's Homefront Command to the scene as well.
Moments later several wounded residents emerged from the building that stood in danger of collapsing; further investigation revealed more wounded. MDA staff administered treatment to 15 injured who were located and rescued from the building.
Among them were Avraham and Galit Tufan, found without a pulse and not breathing. MDA pronounced them dead at the site. Their son, not yet 3, was found in an apartment that was the epicenter of the explosion. The three were evacuated to the hospital in critical condition. Upon reaching Shaarei Tzedek Hospital the three year old was pronounced dead.
The decision to allow the technician responsible to go free in the tragedy's wake generated a considerable amount of controversy. Besides for a public outcry, more than 100 families who suffered personal or property loss in the incident met earlier this month to discuss a class-action suit against Supergas.
In a statement released through his attorney, the technician said that “I acted according to the company's requirements. My conscience is clear. I sympathize with the families,” he said.
“I wish I would have been called by the residents of the apartment where the leak took place. I was not called by them, I was called to a different apartment and conducted a thorough examination, as required by the company,” he added.