A building in Jaffa collapsed in a ball of flames after a large explosion there late Monday night, killing at least three people and injuring four.
The blast took place at a paint store on Yefet Street in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood, completely leveling the one-story building.
Police said early Tuesday that the bodies were found in the rubble after firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze.
Five people were injured, including one seriously wounded person, a man in his 30s, who was suffering from severe burns, medics said. The injured were evacuated to hospital, and several others were treated for shock.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, police said. However, they said it appeared to be an accident, perhaps caused by gas, and not a criminal or terrorist act. On Tuesday, Deputy Commissioner Doron Netanel, head of the fire service’s Tel Aviv regional station, suggested the explosion was likely caused by a pirate gas canister attached to the building without proper safety measures and inspections.
“There was an explosion in a Tambour paint store, a one-story building that completely collapsed,” Avi Yehuda from the fire service told Israel Radio, adding that there were six firefighting teams at the scene.
“The firefighters are extinguishing the flames and will then start searching for anybody trapped,” he said.
Medics at the scene said that they had been prevented from going near the building as the fire raged, and that several rescue teams were there, including the army’s Home Front command rescue team.
Video from the scene showed the building completely destroyed as a large fire raged.
תיעוד ממקום קריסת הבניין ביפו – הבניין ככל הנראה לא שימש למגורים pic.twitter.com/M5noHnBp6k
— חדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) November 27, 2017
BREAKING: House explosion in the Jaffa area of Tel Aviv, Israel, cause as of now unknown, a number of people are trapped, huge emergency service response. pic.twitter.com/VadSXf0PHP
— News_Executive (@News_Executive) November 27, 2017