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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Fires’

Wild Bushfires Drive Some Australian Jews from Their Homes

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Wild bushfires ravaging Australia forced members of the Jewish community to evacuate their homes, some of which already have been destroyed by flames since the fires broke out Wednesday a week ago due to explosives used in army exercises.

David Lake, a traditional Sephardi Jew lost his home in the blaze at the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and was able to flee with almost no possession except a Kiddush cup and a mezuzah.

“All my possessions were incinerated,” Lake said. “It’s difficult and emotionally traumatizing.

“The Kiddush cup was completely blackened but I managed to restore it – it’s still useable,” he added. He said the mezuzah on the archway in front of his door was “still intact,” but others lying in the ashes were totally destroyed.

Lake has been living since Tuesday at a Chabad house in Sydney, which has 40 rooms available, along with a handful of other Jewish evacuees.

Other Jewish groups rallied to help the victims this week.

Our Big Kitchen, a Chabad-run community kitchen in Bondi, staged a cook-a-thon on Tuesday, preparing more than 1,000 meals for distribution to victims and firefighters.

“We pray that God Almighty has mercy and brings a swift end to this terrible catastrophe, comforts the bereaved and heals the wounded,” said Pinchus Feldman, the chief rabbi of Chabad in Sydney.

The Jewish House, a crisis center, is offering psychological help, as well as shelter for those with pets.

“We’re in touch with 25 families,” said the center’s CEO, Rabbi Mendel Kastel. “Most are all packed up and ready to run if they need to.”

Jewish Aid Australia launched an appeal this week. “Like all Australians, the Jewish community is deeply concerned by the devastation left in the fires’ wake,” said Jewish Aid Australia CEO Gary Samowitz.

Bush fires are akin to Australia’s frontline war. In 2009, bushfires killed more than 170 people and destroyed 150 homes in Victoria, the worst blaze in Australian history.

Two people have been killed, the latest being a pilot whose water bomber plane crashed in rugged country on the southern coast of Australia. The crash sparked another fire, one of more than 50 are burning across the state of New South Wales.

More than 200 homes have been destroyed, and one man died from a heart attack while trying to save his home.

Firefighters Battling Fires All Over Israel on Lag Baomer

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

The hazy, hot weather caused an outbreak of dozens of fires across Israel Saturday night, and several fires are still raging Sunday morning, the largest of them in the industrial area Afek in Rosh Ha’ayin, 16 miles east of Tel Aviv.

The fire in Rosh Ha’ayin broke out in a multi-story industrial building on Saturday, at about 5 PM, and is still raging. Parts of the building have collapsed, and firefighters fear the collapse of the entire structure. More than 20 firefighter teams from different towns in central Israel are on the site, but are yet to gain control over the blaze.

During the night firefighter teams put out a fire the started with a Lag Baomer bonfire in Moshav Oriya, near Beit Shemesh.

Lag Baomer bonfires the got out of control were the culprit in numerous local fires that raged across Israel overnight. An exceptionally hot weather, coupled with unexpectedly strong winds, turned many festive outings into anxious dramas.

After a fire that broke out near the Buchman neighborhood of Modi’in, police closed down Begin street, on the south side of the city. The reason, according to police – a Lag Baomer bonfire.

A fire in Ben Shemen Forest on Saturday injured a couple in their 50s, who were taken to Tel Hashomer Hospital. An initial police investigation found the fire began as a harmless barbecue.

“They located the barbecue in a grassy area, ignoring safety guidelines,” a JNF inspector reported. “Soon sparks flew into the grass and the fire began to spread.”

“The husband tried to put out the fire by stepping on it with his feet, but the flames quickly took clothes and he sustained light to medium burns. His wife removed some of her clothes in an attempt to extinguish the flames on her husband, and suffered from smoke inhalation. A fire watchman alerted JNF and Firefighter forces,” the inspector added.

Two fires were reported in the Ministry of Agriculture’s Vulcan Institute in Rishon Letzion. Several fires were ignited in the Kinneret area and on the Golan heights. Airplanes were used to fight the fires there.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/firefighters-battling-fires-all-over-israel-on-lag-baomer/2013/04/28/

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