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Father of the Year – Man in Samaria Saves Children from Fire

Burnt Home in Shomron

Photo Credit: Aharon Malter / Tazpit News Agency

Neriya, Samaria – Ariel Tal, a father of three young children, awoke on January 12, 2012, to find his home – a temporary structure – on fire. “G-d wanted me to awake. I found the little one under the blanket and was successful in getting her out.”

The house in its entirety was consumed by the fire. “The house and its content – they are all trivialities. All material is of no significance. The family is safe, thank G-d, and if it takes us some time to recover, that’s just fine. It was a miracle. I work in the morning and there is no reason for me to awake during the night, but it seems G-d wanted me to wake up that night. I walked to the living room and saw the flames consuming the couches.”

Tal shouted to his wife Gili to awake, and she grabbed their month old son and escaped. They managed to get out unharmed. “I proceeded to the girls’ room,” Tal continued, “the younger one was wearing white pajamas, so I saw her immediately. I then looked for the older one and found her under the blanket. Her hands had already caught fire. I extinguished the flames and got her out. Meantime, Gili went to get help.”

One of the neighbors called to the scene was Naomi Aharonowitz, a trained nurse, who, together with another nurse, provided initial medical care to Ariel and the girls.

After the turmoil subsided, she and other community members immediately began to care for the family’s needs. “The neighbors distributed the various responsibilities among themselves,” she explained. “Someone has taken upon herself to collect funds. My husband is trying to obtain another structure for them from the local municipality and is dealing with the clearing of the destroyed one. I have taken upon myself to collect house appliances. We will try to restore their lives to what it was before the fire.”

Tal is now recuperating from the burns he sustained on 15% of his body, including his face and shoulders. The girls’ condition is progressing nicely as well. It is still unclear what started the blaze, but the point of initiation seems to be the living room.

Tal concludes stating: “We are constantly thinking what would have happened if we would have discovered the fire a second later. G-d forbid, our baby would have inhaled a bit more smoke – he wouldn’t be with us anymore. One can say it was a miracle”.

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