The disaster around us in Haifa with the multitude of fires that swept through the city resulted in a very heavy price being paid. Over 1800 homes were damaged by the fire and of those 527 are uninhabitable.
Travelling around the city at the beginning of the week we were able to see the severity of the fire in a number of neighborhoods. Thankfully personal injuries were minimal, the majority of people requiring treatment, suffered from smoke inhalation.
At the end of our street, the fire swept up a wadi exiting on to the street between a Golden Age Home and a private home. The first was saved with no damage whilst the private home was devastated.
The building next to this private home was also affected but with minimal damage. Here lives friends of ours, a 93 year old Professor of the Technion with his wife. He told me the story how he was having a massage when he was concerned about what was going on. As he completed getting dressed there was a knock on the door and was told to evacuate immediately. He didn’t even have time to get his wheel chair (he has great difficulty walking) before he was helped out of his home and dumped on a bench on the other side of the road.
With the kindness of motorists they were able to get to a point where they could contact their daughter to come and pick them up. Thankfully they have returned home already and all their prized family possession were intact.
This cannot be said for other friends who lost all their possessions. They are now looking around to rent accommodation in order to bring a bit of stability to their lives. Our community is looking to help in whatever way they can. In this case treasured possession have been lost. Can they ever be recreated – unlikely.
So were we being responsible in staying in our home when we were advised to leave? Certainly those families with children took a wise decision and left. We eventually did have cases packed in the event we had to leave. We did not realise just how close the fire was burning to our home.
The fire in the Haifa area has been designated aa a terrorist act. What started in one area quickly spread to other areas as the wind carried the sparks from one area to another.
Other fires around the country have also been designated as terror acts and so far 13 suspects have been arrested, some from Palestinian territory and a number of Israeli Arabs. Two of the arrested were caught by being seen with an infra-red camera trying to light a fire near the city of Ariel.
If some are found guilty, with a somewhat sick thought I suggested that Israel should negotiate with the USA for rental of places in Alcatraz to get the perpetrators as far away as possible. Or is that an abuse of “human rights?”