On Saturday, residents of the building on Serlin street phoned emergency services after hearing creaking noises and finding that their front doors were wedged shut.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
In a scene eerily reminiscent of June’s Surfside condo collapse, an apartment building in the central Israel city of Holon collapsed on Sunday.
But fortunately, this building collapse, while a financial and logistical disaster for the families, did not end with loss of life.
On Saturday, residents of the building on Serlin street phoned emergency services after hearing creaking noises and finding that their front doors were wedged shut, likely due to a failure in the building’s structural integrity.
As a precaution, the city’s fire chief evacuated all residents of the 32-unit building.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) September 12, 2021
Less than 24 hours later, the building collapsed. Initial reports blame a weakened central support column, but the investigation into what caused the collapse is ongoing.
After residents of the building complained to Hebrew language media about what they said was a lack of support from the city, Holon announced it would give a 5,000 shekel grant to each family displaced by the collapse.
State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman toured the wreckage on Monday, calling for Israel to draft up an extensive, nation-wide plan to prevent future collapses.
“This needs to be a warning sign to us,” said Englman. “There are lots of dangerous buildings and we need to find solutions.”
But Holon’s city engineer, Aviad Mor, made an oblique statement to Israel Radio which appeared to shift the onus of building safety onto residents of apartment buildings.
He said that while there is a possibility that other buildings in the vicinity are at risk of collapse, residents must take it upon themselves to get in touch with the city regarding safety concerns, as the municipality will not be performing preemptive inspections.
“The city will not be inspecting nearby buildings unless there is a specific request from residents,” Mor said. “There are limited resources for regular inspections of dangerous buildings. The cooperation of residents is paramount.”
Comparing the safety of apartment buildings to annual safety checks for vehicles, he said, “I want to draw the attention of citizens — it’s your property.”
Mor did not touch upon the fact that many people in Israel rent their apartments, and that the owners of units often live in other cities or abroad, and communicate with their tenants via intermediaries like lawyers and real estate agents.