Man killed, 9 hurt in carbon monoxide poisoning incident at Beersheba pizzeria

Victims taken to Soroka Medical Center after police and rescue services rush to scene

The scene of a gas leak at a store in Beersheba's Old City, May 18, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)
The scene of a gas leak at a store in Beersheba's Old City, May 18, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

A man was killed and nine others were lightly hurt Thursday afternoon in a carbon monoxide poisoning incident inside a pizza shop in Beersheba’s Old City.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said the wounded were taken to Soroka Medical Center following the incident.

According to MDA, a man in his 60s was rushed to the hospital unconscious and in critical condition but died shortly after arriving.

A man in his 30s was mildly hurt and fully conscious but was put on a ventilator. Eight others were lightly hurt and fully conscious.

Police said they were asking people to stay away from the area as they dealt with the situation.

It had been initially unclear what caused the poisoning, with authorities looking into a possible gas leak. Fire and Rescue services later said the cause was carbon monoxide poisoning.

Initial reports indicated the chimney of the restaurant’s oven had somehow become blocked, leading the toxic, odorless gas to seep into the venue.

Such cases are usually more prevalent in winter, particularly as a result of some less safe heating methods.

Patrick, a store owner in the area, told the Ynet news site he had heard people screaming and thought a terror attack had occurred.

“Suddenly, I saw people falling on the floor, one after the other. It was very frightening,” he said.

Carbon monoxide has no color or smell, so leaks can be hard to identify until symptoms of poisoning become evident. Medical experts say charcoal should only be used in well-ventilated outdoor spaces, as even a single grill’s worth of burning charcoal can emit toxic levels of carbon monoxide.

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