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12144
“Israel Asks for Outside Help Against Out - Of-control Carmel Fire As At Least 40 People Die”
by DEBKAfile   
December 2nd, 2010

Prime Minister Netanyahu has appealed urgently to Russia, Greece, Italy and Cyprus for urgent firefighting forces as the flames enveloping Mount Carmel blaze out of control. It claimed at least 40 deaths in a trapped bus fleeing Damun Prison from the inferno Thursday, Dec. 2. Three firemen are believed still trapped and an unknown number of people have been injured. Thousands of dunams of woodland and brush have been destroyed across the scenic mountain. The fire is carried by strong eastern winds amid an unseasonal drought in the region which has left the entire region dry and parched.
The appeal from the prime minister's office went out after the fire brigade mobilized all its national manpower to fight the biggest fire Israel has ever seen. IDF emergency units were called out for help and brought in water tankers. The 40 victims on the bus, young trainees at a prison warders' course summoned to help evacuate the 500 inmates, were burnt alive as the flames changed direction and caught it swaying down a precipitous road away from the fire.The inmates had by then reached safety. 

After nightfall, the residents of Ein Hod, Nir Etzion and Ein Hood were told to abandon their homes and drive towards the sea after Haifa University was evacuated. During the day, the firemen ordered dozens of homes and buildings evacuated at Kibbutz Beit Oren, the Carmel Forest Hotel, the village of Issufiyeh, the prison, farms and resorts. Power was briefly cut off from some of the Druze villages on the Carmel where near where the fire started.

The aerial extinguishers were grounded for the night while the search for three missing firefighters continued in the dark. The danger alert stood high as the flames continued to rage out of control. The Air Force carried fire engines from around the country to Mt. Carmel.

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