Tragedy in Gilo: 3 Killed in Explosion

YERUSHALAYIM -

Three people were killed when a cooking gas container exploded  in an apartment building in the Gilo neighborhood of Yerushalayim at 1:20 a.m. Monday morning.

An additional 11 people were injured in the blast at 65 Shabtai HaNegri, according to Magen David Adom .

Avraham, z”l, 56, and Galit Tophan, a”h, 42, and their two-year-old son perished in the blast.

Hundreds of shocked and grieving family members and friends attended the levayah on Monday evening.

“We are in great pain now,” said a brother of the niftar. ”Avraham would hold us together in hard times.”

The three were laid to rest in the cemetery of Givat Shaul.

Police investigators arrested a gas technician on suspicion of negligence. He had been called to the site the day before to inspect a suspected gas leak. Police said that a preliminary investigation indicated that the technician had performed only a temporary repair.

The technician’s employer, Supergas, released a statement: “According to our records, a complaint was received from the site of the explosion at 10:15 p.m. on Sunday night. The technician reportedly shut the gas taps. Unfortunately, the explosion took place later that night.

“The gas piping, by law, must be checked every five years. Our last recorded check-up was in December 2012 and the gas network was found to be functioning properly.

“We will cooperate fully with the police and security officials to get to the bottom of this investigation,” added Supergas.

The injured included one person who was in serious condition, one moderately injured, seven listed as lightly injured, and two who were treated for shock.

All of the surviving victims were evacuated to Hadassah and Shaare Zedek Medical Centers.

The explosion, which emitted a tremendous noise, occurred on the third floor of the four-story building in Gilo. The force of the blast caused the third floor to collapse, destroyed the Tophan’s apartment and caused damage to adjacent buildings as well, police said.

MDA, soldiers of the IDF Home Front Command, and firefighters were continuing to search for potential casualties trapped in the rubble of the building.