Avoidable tragedy? The fire
Photo: Israel Fire and Rescue Services
Lindenstrauss. Major failures
Photo: Noam Moskowitz
Minister Yishai. 'I'm the only one who acted'
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Carmel fire report lays blame on Interior Ministry

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss releases draft of report probing tragic blaze which claimed 44 lives. Minister Yishai already on the defensive

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is unlikely to assign personal liability to any of the individuals involved in the failures linked with last December's Carmel fire, Ynet has learned on Sunday.


December's Carmel fire, which raged for four days and nights, claimed 44 lives, forced the evacuation of nearly 17,000 people and consumed 8,650 acres of land and natural forest. Lindenstrauss released a draft of his findings on Sunday morning.



Still, sources privy to the report's details, said that Lindenstrauss' findings will decree that the police, Prison Service and Fire and Rescue Services have grossly failed in dealing with the blaze. The report also raises serious concerns as to these bodies' abilities to handle national emergencies.


Lindenstrauss' statement said that the report found "a long line of failures in relation to the deadly fire, which claimed an unprecedented toll of lives."

Fire rages in the Carmel (Photo: AFP)


The sources added that the report's findings will lay much of the blame on the Interior Ministry and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.


The final report is also likely to hold several other governmental bodies responsible, both in the current government and the previous one.


Earlier Sunday, the State Comptroller's Officer forwarded copies of the report's draft to all senior officials mentioned in it, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.  


The Prime Minister's Office offered the following: "We will study the report and respond accordingly. It should be mentioned that the current government is the one that, even before the Carmel fire, allocated ten times the resources given by previous governments to the Fire and Rescue Services after dozens of years of neglect."


Yishai said he has yet to review the draft, but rejected any criticism directed against him: "The State Comptroller has been examining the Fire Services since 1974, when I was still in school," he said. "I was the only one who acted. What do you expect me to do, take a fire truck into the field?" 


The Internal Security Ministry said that: "The Carmel disaster hurt us all. The State Comptroller's draft report has reached the ministry and will be reviewed in depth. Since the draft is confidential, we do not intend to publicly comment on its content. The ministry will forward its response to the State Comptroller's Office.


The report focused on six major issues including the events of the first day of the fire, the defense establishment and Fire Services' readiness for emergencies of such scale and the government ministries' responsibility for the subsequent failures and tragedy.


All those mentioned in the report must submit their response to it within a 30-day timeframe. Only then will the final report be issued.


Ronen Medzini and Aviad Glickman contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 08.14.11, 14:35
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