Roads were shut off in Haifa Saturday due to a leak of flammable industrial gas in an industrial zone in the city’s east.
Police, firefighters and environmental ministry officials were on the scene.
Several streets were closed off in the area of Yigal Yadin and Halutse HaTa’asiya roads. There were no special instructions for residents.
Gas had reportedly leaked from underground pipes leading to processing plants. The reason was not immediately clear, but the gas’s flammability required authorities to close off the area where the leak was spotted.
Though the gas flow was stopped after discovery of the leak, its heavier-than-air nature caused it to pool in various locations in the area. Firefighting teams were working to disperse it.
The fumes are believed to be C4, an industrial gas that tends to accumulate in low places.
The Environmental Protection Ministry said in a statement that it had ordered the immediate cessation of the gas flow between the plants where the leak was discovered. Water was being streamed through the pipes in order to locate the exact source of the leak. The ministry said the spillage appeared to have been contained to the Halutse HaTa’asiya Junction area.
The forces will continue to operate until the end of the tests and the ministry will investigate the incident. “We will take all necessary measures and the waves of enforcement available to us,” the ministry said.
Haifa is known for its polluting industrial areas and their dangerous chemicals.
Mayor Einat Kalisch Rotem said following the incident: “These plants have no place being near us so long as pollution continues and malfunctions occur day in and day out. We will not agree to live beside harmful neighbors.”
Blue and White MK Miki Haimovich referred to the gas leak as a “national failure.”
She wrote on Facebook that the incident “requires an immediate examination of the chemical industry’s infrastructure, real monitoring of the pollutants and dramatic punishment. The residents of the Haifa bay area are simply hostages.”
The opposition lawmaker said she would submit a query to the Environmental Protection Ministry on Sunday to receive answers on what happened and what the relevant government bodies are doing to protect Haifa residents.