Is it possible that the deadly gas explosion in Netanya could have been avoided? Residents of the building which was nearly brought down by
Thursday's blast told Ynet that they reported a suspected gas leak to the City and the Fire and Rescue Services, but to no avail.
Three women and one man were killed and some 90 other were wounded, most of them lightly, in the blast, which tore through a four-storey building adjacent to Ha'atzmaut Square in downtown Netanya.
The Police have two suspects in custody. Both were remanded for five days by the Petah Tikva District Court.
Police sources said the tenants claim to have placed several calls to both the municipal hotline and the Fire and Rescue Services on Thursday afternoon.
Fire and Rescue Services, however, claim that they were called off the first complaint by City inspectors, who told them the problem was fixed.
The tenants claimed to have placed numerous calls to authorities between 4:30 pm and the time of the blast – but to no avail.
The police asked the Netanya Fire and Rescue Services to hand over the tapes of the conversations reporting the suspected gas leak. According to those, the first report citing "a very strong smell of gas" was made at 4:32pm.
Netanya Fire and Rescue Services claim that at 4:34, a City inspector called the station and called off the team readying to head out to the area, saying the problem had been fixed.
The Netanya Municipality said in response that "we are unaware of the incident. There is a lot of speculation right now. The police will investigate everything."
Another call to the Fire and Rescue Services was made by tenants several minutes after midnight. The police is looking into tenant allegations suggesting the Fire Department took too long to arrive at the scene.
Fire and Rescue Services, however, say that the second call came in at 00:12 and that Fire Department engine was reportedly approaching the scene six minutes later.
Fire and Rescue Services Spokesman Yoram Levy said that, "The firefighters actions are documented from start to finish. The material will be transferred to the police."