Hundreds Evacuated in Fire Near Yerushalayim

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -
Workers from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) fighting a large fire raging in Even Sapir, near Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Workers from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) fighting a large fire raging in Even Sapir, near Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

More than seven hundred people were evacuated from their homes on Sunday as a major fire threatened neighborhoods near Hadassah University Medical Center in southwest Yerushalayim.

Some 20 firefighting teams and eight airplanes were deployed to bring the blaze under control and Routes 395 and 386 leading to the area, as well as the eastbound lanes of Highway 1 towards the capital, were closed.

The fire spread into the Yerushalayim suburb of Even Sapir, causing damage to some houses and necessitating the evacuation of local residents. B’chasdei Shamayim, no serious injuries were reported.

Fire department officials said they believe the fire was caused by negligence on the part of a local farmer, but they were still investigating.

As of Sunday afternoon, the hospital is not in imminent danger.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection advised people to stay in their homes with windows closed and air conditioners off, due to dangerous emissions; several buildings built with asbestos went up in flames.

It took firefighters all day to bring the blaze under control. Four warehouses, two homes, and a chicken coop where completely destroyed, and damage was being assessed at other  homes, warehouses and coops.