Fire officials were again issuing warnings over the use of blechs, both the aluminum sheets that are placed over stove flames and the plug-in electrical version used to keep food warm on Shabbos, after a fire broke out in a Ramot yeshivah on Friday night. The fire, at Yeshivas Amala Shel Torah on Golda Meir Boulevard, broke out at about 1 a.m., and caused partial damage to the building before it was brought under control. B’chasdei Shamayaim, there were no injuries.
Initial investigations indicated that the fire broke out in the yeshivah’s kitchen, when an item made of cloth fell onto an aluminum sheet that was placed on a flame to keep food warm overnight Friday. The cloth may have been placed over a pot on the blech, a method of keeping food warm that is dangerous both when used on aluminum sheets and electric blechs.
In a related story, firefighters were summoned early Shabbos morning to put out a fire that had erupted in Beit Hanina, the result of misuse of an electric heater. The apartment building in which the fire had broken out was evacuated, sending dozens of residents into the freezing early-morning streets. According to investigators, the residents of the apartment had been trying to dry wet clothes by placing them on the heater.
Firefighters stressed that despite the cold, careful use of heating appliances was of paramount importance. In the past two months, 14 people have been killed as the result of misuse of electrical heating appliances, gas furnaces and oil heaters. Firefighters strongly recommend outfitting all homes with smoke alarms, and to ensure that all appliances, especially those left on overnight Friday, meet all electrical standards and are used in the proper manner, as instructed by manufacturers.