The Carmel fire, Israel's worst natural calamity ever, is not yet under control, despite the arrival of fire-fighting planes from Bulgaria and other countries. The fire is still threatening the Denya neighborhood in Haifa and towards Friday afternoon, came close to Atlit..
A fire department spokesman announced a request for all firefighters to come to relieve the exhausted firefighters of the north, who are refusing to leave the site, but are on the verge of collapse. He announced that the firefighting services are critically short of firefighting materials, complicated by the lack of rain and strong winds.
The names of several of the victims of the Carmel Forest tragic fire were released early on Friday morning:
Oshrat Pinto (26) of Tzfat will be laid to rest at 12:00 in the Tzfat military cemetery. She is survived by her parents and siblings.
Ronen Peretz (34) of Ashkelon is survived by his wife, Shirit, and two young children, ages 6 and 3.
Hagai Jorno (28) of Kiryat Gat will be laid to rest at 12:00 in his city's military cemetery. He is survived by his wife and a young daughter.
Ro'i Biton (28) of Kiryat Gat is survived by his wife, who is eight months pregnant, and a son.
Yakir Suissa (25) of Dimona will be laid to rest in the Dimona military cemetery at 12:00. He spoke to his sister shortly before the tragedy, and she heard him recite the Traveler's Prayer to a chorus of “amen”s. His father died three years ago after suffering a heart attack during a terrorist bombing.
Inbal Amoyal (26) of Dimona had finished a second degree in criminology and wished to serve in Israel's security forces like her brothers. She is survived by her parents and four siblings.
Siyum Tzagi (31) of Netivot will be laid to rest at 11:30 in the Netivot military cemetery. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Kfir Ohana (30) of Ofakim will be laid to rest in the Ofakim military cemetery at 12:00. He is survived by his wife Olga, who is nine months pregnant, and a 2-year-old daughter.
Wassim Abu-Reish (28) of Yarkha is survived by a wife and three children.
Topaz Even-Chen Klein (28) of Rehovot will be laid to rest in her city's military cemetery at 12:00.
Maor Ganon (27) of Gan Yavne will be laid to rest in the Yavne military cemetery at 12:00.
Beiber Shadi (35) of Kfar Jat will be buried in Kfar Jat at 12:00.
Tafash A'adel (33) of Beit Jan will be laid to rest at 12:00 in Beit Jan. He is survived by a wife and 2 children.
Eran Weisel (31) of Kiryat Bialik will be laid to rest at 12:00 in Haifa. He is survived by his wife and a child.
Early on Friday morning it was confirmed that the process of notifying the families of the victims has been completed. Concurrently, the process of identifying bodies continues at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.
This is the largest and deadliest fire since Israel's founding in 1948, and possibly also the worst terror attack in its history, if suspicion of arson is confirmed. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday evening that the fire on the Carmel range is "a disaster of a scope that we are not familiar with."
Conflicting Reports during the night, Orderly evacuation
Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich said Thursday evening that the fire is under “currently under control,” but Fire Services Spokesman Hezi Levy said the opposite. The fire, he said, is out of control and is raging in three major locations: the Druze village of Usefiya, Beit Oren, and Nir Etzion. By Friday morning, the fire was still blazing, but more controlled.
Over 12,000 people were evacuated by late Thursday night in an orderly fashion, including elderly, sick,
Residents of religious kibbutz Nir Etzion, the Ein Hod artists' village and the nearby Arab village Ein Hud have been instructed to leave their homes, after it was determined that the fire might reach the communities.
The residents of Carmel mountain's Kibbutz Beit Oren and the nearby Druze town of Usefiyeh were evacuated earlier in the day, as were the students of Haifa University, which is somewhat further away. Several homes in Usefiya have been burnt to the ground. Haifa University has been closed down until further notice.
The Brosh neighborhood in Tirat HaCarmel and a mental health hospital in Tirat HaCarmel were also evacuated. Early on Friday morning, several streets in the Haifa neighborhood of RamatDenia, close to 3500 people, were also evacuated due to concerns that the flames would reach the neighborhood.
A resident of of Beit Oren told Channel 2 news that several homes in the kibbutz burned down. Firefighters' spokesman Levy called Beit Oren "the former kibbutz of Beit Oren" in an evening interview, and said most of the homes in the comnmunity had been touched by the fire. However, on Friday morning, it was announced that 90% of the kibbutz is undamaged.
Israelis opened their doors to the evacuated.
Channel 2 reporter Yossi Mizrachi said that the way in which the fire spread indicated that the blaze erupted from three locations simultaneously -- making arson a likely possibility.
The fire broke out around 10:00 AM this morning in an illegal garbage dump in the Carmel Mountains.
Ongoing rescue and fire-fighting efforts are said to be nearly impossible given the physical conditions of the mountains, smoke, dry conditions and winds.
The trapped bus is said to have departed from the Damon Prison, apparently as part of the attempt to evacuate the prison in the face of the fast-spreading fire.
The Damon jail mostly holds Arabs who were caught illegally entering Israel from the Palestinian Authority. According to IDF Radio, however, the bus was "not a prisoner bus."