Emergency rescue crews evacuated 31 people, including seven children, to hospitals Wednesday morning to be treated for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out near their Rishon Lezion building in an apparent case of arson.
Three cars and two motorcycles that were set alight outside the 4-story-building caused thick noxious smoke to accumulate in the building’s stairwell and apartments, leading to a large number of people requiring treatment. Among those evacuated was an 18-month-old baby.
Firefighters said several of the tenants attempted to escape their apartments by jumping out their windows or climbing down makeshift ropes made of blankets tied together.
Local police forces launched an investigation to reveal the identity of the arsonist.