One man was seriously hurt and another moderately when an explosion caused the collapse of the external wall of an apartment in the southern Israeli town of Sderot in the early hours of Friday morning. Police said the incident was not a terror attack, and Hebrew media reports suggested the blast was caused by a faulty gas canister.
The two injured were treated on the scene by paramedics before they were taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center. Two other people were treated for shock and taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center.
The explosion occurred at 5:13 a.m. Firefighters arrived on the scene and rescued people who were trapped in the building before transferring them to the medical teams for assessment and treatment of their injuries.
Police sappers inspected the scene and determined that the explosion and subsequent collapse of parts of the building were not caused by an attack.
Sderot is located close to the Gaza Strip and is frequently hit by rockets and projectiles fired by terrorist organizations in the coastal enclave.
Paramedics said that a 33-year-old man was suffering from a chest injury and second- and third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body as a result of the explosion, and that he was unconscious and breathing with the help of a ventilator. A second man, 21, has second degree burns to 30% of his body and is conscious.
“When we arrived at the location, we saw the destruction at the back of the building. It was a three-storey residential building. We understood that the external wall of an apartment on the third floor had collapsed,” said medics from the Magen David Adom rescue service. “A 33-year-old man was rescued and was conscious but suffering from injuries. We gave him life-saving medical care, which included anesthesia and respiration, and he was taken to hospital in serious condition.”
Many Israeli residential buildings use gas as fuel for cooking and occasionally heating. The fuel is pumped into the building from canisters which are usually stored at the base of the structure.